SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1998

Health Risk Assessment of Hexachlorobenzene and Hexachloro-Butadiene Residues in Fish Collected from a Hazardous Waste Contaminated Wetland in Louisiana, USA


Improper disposal of hazardous materials has often led to significant adverse effects on environmental quality and human health. This investigation was undertaken to compare the concentration levels of hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD) in various fish collected from a local hazardous waste contaminated wetland to those of a control site, and to assess the potential health risk that may be associated with consuming such fish. A total of 201 samples including 146 fish from the study site and 55 fish from a control site were examined. Statistical analyses revealed a highly significant difference (p<0.01) in concentrations between the 2 sites. Mean levels of contaminants in edible tissues were 23.52±53.54 ng/g (HCB) and 226.33±778.40 ng/g (HCBD) in the study site, and 2.00 ± 5.62 ng/g (HCB) and 6.84 ± 10.41 ng/g (HCBD) in the control site. For the study site, a combined hazard index of 0.65 was computed for a 10-kg child eating 6.5 g of fish per day, while 70-kg adults with daily intakes of 6.5 g toxicant (general population), 30 g (sport fishermen) and 140 g (subsistence fishermen) yielded hazard indices of 0.11, 0.50 and 2.32, respectively; indicating that subsistence fishermen had a higher risk for systemic effects, with an exposure in excess of the EPA-Reference Dose. Cancer risks varied from 3.52x10-6 to 75.52x10-6 for HCB, and from 1.64x10-6 to 35.33x10-6 for HCBD, indicating an exposure in excess of the widely accepted risk level of 1x10-6. For the control site, a significantly lower level of exposure was estimated for both HCB and HCBD.

Author Information

Tchounwou, PB
School of Science and Technology, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Abdelghani, AA
Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Pramar, YV
College of Pharmacy, Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA
Heyer, LR
Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
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Developed by Committee: E47
Pages: 368–382
DOI: 10.1520/STP12176S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5384-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1485-2