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Occurrence of Heavy Metals (Hg, Cd, and Pb) and Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Salted Anchovies

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The most popular brands of salted anchovies (Engraulis encrasicolus) from the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean were purchased from several Italian supermarkets and grocery stores. Heavy metal (Hg, Cd, and Pb) and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) levels were determined and assessed by comparing the concentrations in these samples with the maximum permissible limits set by the European Union (Reg EC 629/2008 and Reg EC 1881/2006 [Off. J. Eur. Union L 173:3–9 and 364:5–24, respectively]). The Hg and Cd levels were higher than those of Pb in all samples examined. For Hg and Pb, the concentrations recorded in this study were below the authorized limits, while an appreciable percentage of samples from both locations (Mediterranean Sea, 35%, and Atlantic Ocean, 25%) showed Cd levels exceeding the threshold recommended for human consumption. Concerning PCBs, the results of principal component analysis showed that samples from the two different marine areas appeared to be discriminate, with Mediterranean anchovies more contaminated than the others, in spite of their lower lipid content. However, anchovy samples from both locations had dioxinlike-PCB levels (Mediterranean Sea, 0.011 pg World Health Organization toxic equivalency [WHO-TEQ] g−1, wet weight, and Atlantic Ocean, 0.007 pg WHO-TEQ g−1, wet weight) that were below the WHO-TEQ maximum concentration set by European regulation. The results of this study will help in generating data needed for the assessment of heavy metal and PCB intake from this food.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Pharmacological-Biological Department, Chemistry and Biochemistry Section, Veterinary Medicine Faculty, University of Bari, Strada Provinciale per Casamassima Km 3, 70010 Valenzano, Bari, Italy

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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