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Assessment of Edible Marine Species in the Adriatic Sea for Contamination from Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Organochlorine Insecticides

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It is estimated that 90% of human exposure to persistent organic pollutants is through food, and fish and shellfish represent an important source of contamination for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine insecticides. To evaluate the levels of seafood contamination coming from the central Adriatic Sea, Italy, a study involving several pools of shellfish, crustaceans, and fish was carried out. Several marine species were selected by their abundance, wide distribution, and common use in the Italian diet and sampled and analyzed during 2004. The concentration of total (Σ) PCBs exceeded that of total dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes (DDTs) in all samples. Atlantic mackerel showed the highest concentrations of PCBs, ranging from 514 to 1,772 ng/g of fat weight, and DDTs, ranging from 52 to 656 ng/g of fat weight. The lowest concentrations of PCBs and DDTs were found in cephalopods and mussels. Despite this, to protect human health from these pollutants, legal limits have been established for fish and shellfish for DDTs but not PCBs. The most common representative PCB congeners, in all species, were PCB 153 and PCB 138; the most common DDT was p,p′-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science, Teramo University, Viale Crispi 212, I-64100 Teramo, Italy 2: Executive Veterinary A.S.L. Pescara, 65100 Pescara, Italy

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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