Lead Contamination in Agro-Based Products as Current Public Health Threat in Bangladesh

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  • Topic: Egg, Egg yolk, Egg white
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  • Published : March 26, 2010
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Lead contamination in agro-based products as current public health threat in Bangladesh

A. M. M. Maruf Hossain1*, M. Shahidul Islam2, Md. Moklesur Rahman1, Md. Mustafa Mamun1, M. Azizul Islam Kazi2, and Syed Fazle Elahi1

1Department of Soil, Water and Environment, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Dhaka; 2Analytical Research Division, BCSIR Laboratories, Dhaka. *Corresponding author


Agro-based products are primary to all human food sources. Contamination in these is also the easiest way of human health getting affected in large scale. Among the myriad of agro-based products, commercially produced milks and eggs were sampled. Chicken eggs were sampled from Dhaka and its nearby other seven districts covering the central region of Bangladesh. Dhaka, Narsingdi, Kishoreganj, Mymensingh, Tangail, Gazipur, Narayanganj, and Munshigonj were selected for the study. Twelve eggs were randomly sampled from each district’s egg stock market. In Dhaka, Gazipur, and Tangail’s market both brown and white colored eggs were found. Six eggs from each type were sampled from these three districts. In the rest five districts only brown colored eggs could be found. Commercial liquid milks of 13 prominent milk producers have been sampled with replication.


Poultry plays a vital role in the economy of Bangladesh in recent years. The contribution by livestock is 3% of the total GDP (BBS, 2004) and nearly 10% of the agricultural GDP (Poultry Business Directory, 2007). As food poultry provides meat and egg. An egg is a good source of energy, protein, and fat. A 50 g weighing grade A chicken egg provides estimated values of 297 KJ energy, 6g protein, 5g fat (1.5g saturated, 2.0g monounsaturated, and 0.8g polyunsaturated), and 190mg cholesterol. Chicken eggs are the most commonly eaten eggs, and are highly nutritious (FAO, 2007). They supply a large amount of complete, high-quality proteins (which contains all essential amino acids for humans), and provide significant amounts of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, riboflavin, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, choline, iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Again liquid milk is an important source of fat, lactose sugar, and proteins (Casein, Albumin). Egg and milk are essential contexts to our daily diet.

Bangladesh has a long historical record of raising poultry under traditional backyard farming. In 1935 improved variety of birds were first introduced in the countries. In the long run it is in the early nineties that a number of private parent stock farms have started their operation to produce commercial Day Old broiler and layer Chicks. Today for commercial egg production layer chicks from these farms are being used. Commercial egg production mostly uses the layer breeds of Hyline Brown, Hyline White, Hisex Brown, Hisex White, ISA Brown, Lohman Brown, Shaver White, and Shaver 579. The prominent milk producers have their own farms in Bangladesh. They produce and market both pasteurized and UTH (ultra high temperature) processed milks. For egg and milk urban people depend completely on commercially produced products while rural people have some practice of backyard farming. As industrial and agricultural practices are not strictly regulated and maintained environment-friendly in Bangladesh, contamination can happen in many ways especially with heavy metals. For this reason a widely distributed egg samples have been collected from Dhaka and its surrounding other seven districts where industrial activities and hence pollution is most prevalent. Similarly a number of liquid milks were sampled with replication to reflect a representative picture.

Materials and Methods:

Sampling area for egg:

The egg sampling area constituted eight districts including capital Dhaka and covered the central region of Bangladesh. Dhaka, Narsingdi, Kishoreganj, Mymensingh, Tangail, Gazipur, Narayanganj, and Munshigonj were selected for the...
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