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. 2015, 3(2), 24-30
DOI: 10.12691/jephh-3-2-1
Open AccessArticle

Cancer and Non-cancer Risks Associated With Heavy Metal Exposures from Street Foods: Evaluation of Roasted Meats in an Urban Setting

Michael Bamuwamye1, 2, Patrick Ogwok1, and Vivian Tumuhairwe3

1Department of Food Technology, Faculty of Sciences, Kyambogo University, P. O. Box 1, Kyambogo, Uganda

2Ministry of Health, Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Institute (NCRI), P. O. Box 4864, Kampala, Uganda

3AgroWays (U) Ltd, Plot 34-60 Kyabazinga Way, P.O. Box 1924 Jinja-Uganda

Pub. Date: May 08, 2015

Cite this paper:
Michael Bamuwamye, Patrick Ogwok and Vivian Tumuhairwe. Cancer and Non-cancer Risks Associated With Heavy Metal Exposures from Street Foods: Evaluation of Roasted Meats in an Urban Setting. Journal of Environment Pollution and Human Health. 2015; 3(2):24-30. doi: 10.12691/jephh-3-2-1


Street foods (SF) are important in meeting energy and nutrient requirements for urban populations because of their convenience and low-cost. In contrast, SF represents a major public health risk due to chemical contamination especially with heavy metals. The study aimed at quantifying the levels of heavy metals (HM); lead (Pb), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), Chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn) and iron (Fe) in street roasted and vended meats (SRVM); estimating daily HM intake; determining the cancer and non-cancer risks associated with HM exposure using probabilistic risk assessment models. Twelve samples of each SRVM (pork, beef, goat and chicken) were randomly purchased on the streets of Kampala and their HM content measured. The cancer and non-cancer risks were estimated using incremental lifetime cancer risk and target hazard quotient (THQ), respectively. Lead, Cd and As content was above maximum limits according to EFSA and WHO, while Cr, Cu, Zn and Fe were below prescribed limits. The daily intake of Pb measured in beef and pork was higher than the recommended tolerable daily intake (TDI) for both children and adults while that of Cd, As, Cu, Zn and Fe was <TDI. The probability of an adult developing cancer as a result of consuming SRVM over a 70-year lifetime was greater than US EPA management level of 1x10-4 for all the meats. THQ showed potential risk for humans due to the intake of Pb in pork and beef, and As in chicken with respect to children. THQ values also presented Pb, Cd and As as dominant contaminants. The combined non-carcinogenic effect of all metals considered in the study expressed as hazard index (HI) was >1, with values for children higher than those for adults. Regular consumption of SRVM in Kampala is a health risk with respect to Pb, Cd and As.

cancer risk heavy metal street food roasted-meat

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


[1]  FAO/WHO, 1996. Nutrition and Agriculture: Street Foods, World Health Organization, Geneva.
[2]  Steyn, N. P. and Labadarios, D, (2011) Street Foods and Fast Foods: How much do south africans of different ethnic groups consume? Ethnicity and Disease, 21.462-466.
[3]  Bender, A, (1992) Meat and meat products in human nutrition in developing countries, FAO Food Nutrition Paper, 53. 1-91.
[4]  D’Mello, J. P, (2003) Food safety: Contaminants and toxins. CABI Publishing, Cambridge, 191-215.
[5]  Harmanescu, M., Alda, L. M., Bordean, D. M., Gogoasa, I., and Gergen, I, (2011). “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.
[6]  Liu, X., Song, Q., Tang, Y., Li, W., Xu, J., Wu, J., Wang, F. and Brookes, P. C, (2013).“Human health risk assessment of heavy metals in soil–vegetable system: A multi-medium analysis’’, Science of the Total Environment, 463–464. 530-540.
[7]  World Health Organization (WHO), (2006). “Street Food Vending in the Region: Food Safety Challenges,” AFRO Food Safety Newsletter, 2. 5-8.
[8]  Tchounwou, P. B., Yedjou, C. G., Patlolla, A. K., Sutton, D. J, (2014). “Heavy Metals Toxicity and the Environment,” Molecular Clinical and Environmental Toxicology, 101. 133-164.
[9]  Hague, T., Petroczi, A., Andrews, P. L., Barker, J. and Naughton, D. P, (2008). “Determination of metal ion content of beverages and estimation of target hazard quotients: a comparative study,” Chemistry Central Journal, 2(13). 1-9.
[10]  Ogwok, P., Bamuwamye, M., Apili, G. and Musalima, J. H, (2014). “Health Risk Posed by Lead, Copper and Iron via Consumption of Organ Meats in Kampala City (Uganda),’’ Journal of Environment Pollution and Human Health, 2(3). 69-73.
[11]  Copat, C., Conti, G. O., Signorelli, C., Marmiroli, S., Sciacca, S., Vinceti, M. and Ferrante, M, (2013). “Risk Assessment for Metals and PAHs by Mediterranean Seafood,” Food and Nutrition Sciences, 4. 10-13.
[12]  Walpole, S. C., Prieto-Merino, D., Edwards, P., Cleland, J., Stevens, G. and Roberts, I, (2012). “The weight of nations: an estimation of adult human biomass,” BMC Public Health, 12. 439.
[13]  World Health Orgaization (WHO), Weight-for-age (5-10 years), (2007). Retrieved October 10, 2014, from Growth reference 5-19 years:
[14]  Li, S. and Zhang, Q, (2010). “Risk assessment and seasonal variations of dissolved trace elements and heavy metals in the Upper Han River, China,” Journal of Hazardous Materials, 181. 1051-1058.
[15]  Li, P.H., Kong, S.-F., Geng, C.-M., Han, B., Lu, B., Sun, R.F., Zhao, R.J. and Bai, Z.P (2013). “Assessing the Hazardous Risks of Vehicle Inspection Workers’ Exposure to Particulate Heavy Metals in Their Work Places,” Aerosol and Air Quality Research, 13. 255-265.
[16]  Pepper, I. L., Gerba, C. P. and Brusseau, M. L, (2012). Environmental and Pollution Science (Pollution Science Series), Academic Press, 212-232.
[17]  Guerra, F., Trevizam, A. R., Muraoka, T., Marcante, N. C. and Canniatti-Brazaca, S. G, (2012). “Heavy metals in vegetables and potential risk for human health,” Scientia Agricola, 69(1). 54-60.
[18]  European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 of 19 December 2006. Setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs (OJ L 364, 20.12.2006, p. 5).
[19]  Nwude, D. O., Babayemi, J. O. and Abhulimen, I. O, “Metal quantification in cattle: A case of cattle at slaughter at Ota Abattoir, Nigeria’’(2011). Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Sciences, 3(9). 271-274.
[20]  Järup, L, “Hazards of heavy metal contamination’’, British Medical Bulletin, 68(1). 167-82. December 2003.
[21]  Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), Doc. no. CX/FAC 96/17 Codex general standard for contaminants and toxins in foods, Joint FAO/WHO food standards programme, Technical Report Series 776, 1995.
[22]  Sykuła-Zając, A. and Pawlak, A, (2012). “Chromium in food products’’, Biotechnology and Food Sciences, 76(1). 27-34.
[23]  De Smet, S, (2012). “Meat, poultry, and fish composition: Strategies for optimizing human intake of essential nutrients,” Animal Frontiers, 2(4). 10-16.
[24]  Tidemann-Andersen, I., Acham, H., Maage, A. and Malde, M. K, (2011). “Iron and zinc content of selected foods in the diet of schoolchildren in Kumi district, east of Uganda: a cross-sectional study,” Nutrition Journal, 10(81). 1-12.
[25]  Turgut, S., Hacioglu, S., Emmungil, G., Turgut, G. and Keskin, A, (2009). “Relations between Iron Deficiency Anemia and Serum Levels of Copper, Zinc, Cadmium and Lead,” Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, 18(2). 273-277.
[26]  Landrigan, P. J., Schechter, C. B., Lipton, J. M., Fahs, M. C. and Schwartz, J, (2002). Environmental Pollutants and Disease in American Children: Estimates of Morbidity, Mortality, and Costs for Lead Poisoning, Asthma, Cancer, and Developmen, Environmental Health Perspectives (Children' Health), 110(7), 721-728.
[27]  World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR), Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective, AICR, Washington, DC, 2007.
[28]  Mahan, K. L. and Escott-Stump, S, (2004). Krause's Food, Nutrition and Diet Therapy (11 ed), Elsevier, Philadelphia, 259-283.
[29]  Stanković, S., Jović, M., Milanov, R. and Joksimović, D, (2011).Trace elements concentrations (Zn, Cu, Pb, Cd, As and Hg) in the Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and evaluation of mussel quality and possible human health risk from cultivated and wild sites of the southeastern Adriatic Sea, Montenegro, Journal of Serbian Chemical Society, 76(12). 1725-1737.
[30]  Mousavi, Z. and Ziarati, P, (2013). Assessing The Health Risk of Some Trace Metals Contents in Vegetables Sold in Local Markets of Tehran-Iran, International Journal of Farming and Allied Sciences, 2(14). 434-438.
[31]  Osredkar, J. and Sustar, N, (2011). “Copper and Zinc, Biological Role and Significance of Copper/Zinc Imbalance,” Journal of Clinical Toxicology, S3:001.
[32]  Molina, V. B., (2011). Health Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals Bioaccumulation in Laguna de Bay Fish Products, Philippines in 14th World Lake Conference, Austin Texas: VBM; 23.
[33]  Tassew, B., Ahmed, H. and Vegi, M. R, (2014). “Determination of Concentrations of Selected Heavy Metals in Cow’s Milk: Borena Zone, Ethiopia,” Journal of Health Science, 4(5). 105-112.
[34]  Sadovska, V, (2012). “Health Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals Adsorbed in Particulates,” World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, 6. 170-173.