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Heavy Metal and Metalloid Pollution of Soil, Water and Foods in Bangladesh: A Critical Review

Key Laboratory for Agricultural Water Resources, Center for Agricultural Resources Research, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shijiazhuang 050021, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Department of Applied Nutrition and Food Technology, Islamic University, Kushtia 7003, Bangladesh
CMLR, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(12), 2825;
Received: 12 October 2018 / Revised: 30 November 2018 / Accepted: 7 December 2018 / Published: 11 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remediation and Analysis of Soil, Air, and Water Pollution)
PDF [1015 KB, uploaded 11 December 2018]


Bangladesh is a densely populated developing country. Both industrialization and geological sources have caused widespread heavy metal and metalloid pollution in Bangladesh, which is now posing substantial threats to the local people. In this review, we carried out one of the most exhaustive literature analyses on the current status of Bangladesh heavy metal and metalloid pollution, covering water, soil, and foods. Analysis showed that soils near high traffic and industrial areas contain high concentrations of heavy metals and metalloids. Agricultural land and vegetables in sewage-irrigated areas were also found to be heavy metal- and metalloid-contaminated. River water, sediment, and fish from the Buriganga, Turag, Shitalakhya, and Karnaphuli rivers are highly contaminated with cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), and chromium (Cr). Particularly, groundwater arsenic (As) pollution associated with high geological background levels in Bangladesh is well reported and is hitherto the largest mass poisoning in the world. Overall, the contamination levels of heavy metals and metalloids vary among the cities, with industrial areas being most polluted. In all, this review provides a quantitative identification of the As, Pb, Cd, and Cr contamination hotspots in Bangladesh based on the literature, which may be useful to environmental restorationists and local policy makers. View Full-Text
Keywords: heavy metals; metalloids; pollution; industrialization; food; toxicity heavy metals; metalloids; pollution; industrialization; food; toxicity

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Islam, M.M.; Karim, M.R.; Zheng, X.; Li, X. Heavy Metal and Metalloid Pollution of Soil, Water and Foods in Bangladesh: A Critical Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 2825.

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