Journal of Environment Pollution and Human Health
ISSN (Print): 2334-3397 ISSN (Online): 2334-3494 Website: Editor-in-chief: Dibyendu Banerjee
Open Access
Journal Browser
Journal of Environment Pollution and Human Health. 2014, 2(3), 69-73
DOI: 10.12691/jephh-2-3-3
Open AccessArticle

Health Risk Posed by Lead, Copper and Iron via Consumption of Organ Meats in Kampala City (Uganda)

Patrick Ogwok1, , Michael Bamuwamye2, Grace Apili1 and Juliet Hatoho Musalima1

1Department of Food Technology, Faculty of Science, Kyambogo University, Kyambogo, Kampala, Uganda

2Ministry of Health, Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Institute (NCRI), Kampala, Uganda

Pub. Date: August 28, 2014

Cite this paper:
Patrick Ogwok, Michael Bamuwamye, Grace Apili and Juliet Hatoho Musalima. Health Risk Posed by Lead, Copper and Iron via Consumption of Organ Meats in Kampala City (Uganda). Journal of Environment Pollution and Human Health. 2014; 2(3):69-73. doi: 10.12691/jephh-2-3-3


Organ meat is a good source of protein, and some organs, notably the liver and kidney, are rich in vital minerals. In less developed countries, it is highly consumed because of tradition and being inexpensive. However, organ meats may contain high levels of heavy metals. The major objective of this study was to assess the level of risk posed to consumers by lead (Pb), copper (Cu) and iron (Fe) via the consumption of organ meats in Kampala City. Beef, goat and chicken liver, kidney, rumen, intestine, and chicken gizzard from five major markets in Kampala were assessed for levels of Pb, Cu and Fe. The heavy metal content was determined by flame and furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Target Hazard Quotient (THQ) was used in health risk assessment to determine carcinogenicity of the samples. The concentration of heavy metals ranged from 0.04 to 1.11 mg/kg for lead; 3.5 x 10-4 to 0.66 mg/kg for copper, and 26.20 to 41.00 mg/kg for iron. The level of lead in the liver, kidney, rumen, intestine and gizzard was higher than the maximum recommended limit (0.5 mg/kg wet weight) according to EFSA. A health risk analysis based on the THQ yielded a value >1 for lead in beef and goat liver and kidney, and goat intestine, and 0.99 in chicken liver. This suggests that consumers would possibly experience significant risk from the consumption of lead through these organs. Regular consumption of offal in Kampala may therefore cause deleterious effects during a lifetime in humans most especially for children and women of child bearing age.

Animal offal health risk heavy metal

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Khalafalla, F. A., Ali, F. H., Schwagele, F. and Abd‐El‐Wahab, M. A, “Heavy metal residues in beef carcasses in Beni‐Suef abattoir, Egypt,” Veterinaria Italiana, 47 (3), 351‐361. 2011.
[2]  Miranda M., López-Alonso M., Castillo C., Hernández J. and Benedito J.L, “Effects of moderate pollution on toxic and trace metal levels in calves from a polluted area of northern Spain,” Environment International, 31, 543-548. 2005.
[3]  World Health Organisation (WHO), Lead Environmental Health Criteria, Geneva: World Health Organization. Joint FAO/WHO Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods, Food Standards Programme. The Hague: WHO/FAO. 1995.
[4]  Steenland, K. and Boffetta, P, “Lead and cancer in humans: where are we now?,” American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 38, 295-9. 2000.
[5]  Järup, L, “Hazards of heavy metal contamination,” British Medical Bulletin, 68, 167-82. 2003.
[6]  Pilot, C. H. and Dragan, P. Y, Chemical Carcinogenesis, In: Casarett, Doulls (Eds.), Toxicology International Edition, fifth ed. McGraw Hill, New York, 201–260. 1996.
[7]  Turgut, S., Hacioglu, S., Emmungil, G., Turgut, G. and Keskin, A, “Relations between Iron Deficiency Anemia and Serum Levels of Copper, Zinc, Cadmium and Lead,” Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, 18 (2), 273-277. 2009.
[8]  Petering, H. G, “Some Observations on the Interaction of Zinc, Copper, and Iron Metabolism in Lead and Cadmium Toxicity,” Environmental Health Perspectives, 25, 141-145. 1978.
[9]  Silva, A. L., Paolo, R. G., Silvana, J. D. and Moreira, J. C, “Dietary intake and health effect of selected toxic elements,” Brazilian Journal of Plant Physiology, 17 (1), 79-93. 2005.
[10]  Mghweno, L. R., Makokha, A. O., Magoha, H. S., Wekesa, J. M. and Nakajugo, A, “Environmental lead pollution and food safety around Kampala City in Uganda,” Journal of Applied Biosciences, 12, 642 - 649. 2008.
[11]  Khillare, P. S., Balachandran, S. and Meena, B. R, “Spatial and temporal variation of heavy metals in atmospheric aerosols of Delhi,” Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 90, 1-21. 2004.
[12]  Sharma, R. K., Agrawal, M. and Marshall, F. M, “Atmospheric Depositions of Heavy Metals (Cd, Pb, Zn, And Cu) In Varanasi City, India,” Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 142, 269-278. 2008.
[13]  Ogwok P., Muyonga J.H. and Sserunjogi M.L, “Pesticide residues and heavy metals in Nile perch (Lates niloticus) belly flap oil,” Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 82 (5), 529-933. 2009.
[14]  Abduljaleel, S. A., Shuhaimi-Othman, M. and Babji, A, “Assessment of Trace Metals Contents in Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) and Quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) Tissues from Selangor,” Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 5 (6), 441-451. 2012.
[15]  Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC), Official Methods of Analysis of AOAC International, 16th edition, AOAC international, Maryland, USA. 1995.
[16]  Naccari, C., Macaluso, A., Giangrosso, Naccari, F., and Ferrantelli, V. “Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals and Pesticides in Honey From Sicily (Italy)’’, Journal of Food Research, 3 (2), 107-117. 2014.
[17]  Amirah, M. N., Afiza, A. S., Faizal, W. I., Nurliyana, M. H., and Laili, S. “Human Health Risk Assessment of Metal Contamination through Consumption of Fish’’. Journal of Environment Pollution and Human Health, 1 (1), 1-5. 2013.
[18]  Harmanescu, M., Liana, M. A., Despina, M. B., Gogoasa, I., and Gergen, I. “Heavy metals health risk assessment for population via consumption of vegetables grown in old mining area; a case study: Banat County, Romania’’, Chemistry Central Journal, 5 (64). 2011.
[19]  Goyer, R. A. and Clarkson, T. W, Toxic effects of metals, In: C. D. Klaasen (Ed.), Casarett and Doullis Toxicology: The Basic Science of Poisons (sixth edition ed., pp. 811-867). New York: Mc-Graw-Hil. 2001.
[20]  Parkin, D. M., Nambooze, S., Wabwire-Mangen, F. and Wabinga, H. R, Changing cancer incidence in Kampala, Uganda, 1991-2006, International Journal of Cancer, 126, 1187-1195. 2010.
[21]  European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs (OJ L 364, 20.12.2006, p. 5), Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 of 19 December 2006. 2006.
[22]  Doyle, J. J. and Spaulding, J. E, “Toxic and essential trace elements in meat-a review,” Journal of Animal Sciences, 47, 398-419. 1978.
[23]  Fangkun, Z., Li, Q., Wenxiu, F., Meiying, Q., Hailing, H., and Xuejing, W. “Assessment of heavy metals in some wild edible mushrooms collected from Yunnan Province, China”. Environmental Monitoring and Assessesement.
[24]  Iwegbue, C.M.A, Heavy metals composition of livers and kidneys of cattle from southern Nigeria, Veterinarski Arhiv, 78 (5), 401-410. 2008.
[25]  Amer, I. H., Awad, E. I. and Abd-El Aal, S. F. A, Prevalence of the heavy metal residues in some basic infant diet, 8th Sci. Vet. Med. Zag., Conference (31 Aug. to 3 Sep. 2006) Hurghada. 2006.
[26]  Korsrud, G., Meldrum, J. B., Salisbury, C. D., Houlahan, B. J., Saschenbrecker, P. W., and Tittiger, F, “Trace Element Levels in Liver and Kidney from Cattle, Swine and Poultry Slaughtered in Canada,” Canadian Journal of Comparative Medicine, 49, 159-163. 1985.
[27]  Puls, R, Mineral Levels in Animal Health Diagnostic Data, Clearbrook, Canada (British Columbia): Sherpa International. Pp 39-79. 1988.
[28]  Demirezen, O. and Uruc, K, “Comparative study of trace elements in certain fish, meat and meat products,” Food Chemistry, 32, 215-222. 2006.