Assessment of the risk of fish consumers being exposed to pollutions’ harmful effect

The most typical pollutants which occur in fish:

  • Organochlorine pesticides
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls – PCB
  • Toxic metals – Cd, Pb, Hg
  • Dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls – dl-PCB
  • Histamine
  • PAH in fish products

Dioxins +dl-PCB – organic pollutants most characteristic of fish.

In what situations can we be exposed to dioxins:

  • By breathing polluted air – dioxins get into the blood circulation system through lungs
  • With food (up to 90%) intake – dioxins get into the blood circulation system through intestines
  • Through skin contact with material polluted with dioxins

Later, they mainly accumulate in fat.

Dioxins are removed from the body mainly with faeces or, in a much smaller amounts, with urine and milk in lactating mothers.

The toxicity of dioxins depends on:

  • the amount of intake and time of exposure to dioxins,
  • the sort of contact with dioxins (through skin form the soil, through respiratory system, from food),
  • interactions with other pollutants,
  • age, sex, lifestyle,
  • health condition.

The indicator of consumer’s exposure to pollutants – PTWI – permitted tolerable weekly intake  – a toxic element or compound from any source without adverse effects on health.

ELEMENT OR COMPOUNDPER BODY MASS KG/WEEK70 KG PERSON/WEEK
Lead0.025 mg1.75 mg
Cadmium0.007 mg0.49 mg
Mercury0.0016 mg0.12 mg
Arsenic0.025 mg1.75 mg
DDT0.035 mg2.45 mg
Indicator PCB0.007 mg0.49 mg
Dioxins + dl-PCB14 pg WHO-TEQ980 pg WHO-TEQ
Organotin compounds0.7 µg0.049 mg

COUNTRYFISHMEATDAIRY PRODUCTSEGGSOTHER PRODUCTS
Australia39113128
Poland7433596
Finland63616411
Italy3532267
the Netherlands22039435
New Zealand7401924
Norway461422126
Sweden343119214
England62025445
USA753353

The amount of chosen fish species and fish products we can consume per week, not to exceed the mercury and dioxins PTWI.

FISH SPECIESAMOUNT CLASSIFIED BY THE CONTENT OF MERCURYAMOUNT CLASSIFIED BY THE CONTENT OF DIOXINS +DL-PCB
Baltic cod2.370 g950 g
Baltic herring1.700 g400 g
Baltic salmon2.120 g105 g
Carp3.000 g7.000 g
Trout2.040 g2.500 g
Pollock11.700 g65.000 g
Sole2.340 g32.700 g
Pangasius20.740 g61.250 g
Tilapia22.900 g51.500 g

FISH PRODUCTAMOUNT CLASSIFIED BY THE CONTENT OF MERCURYAMOUNT CLASSIFIED BY THE CONTENT OF DIOXINS +DL-PCB
Sprat in tomato sauce7.000 g240 g
Tuna in oil1.670 g2.510 g
Sardine in oil4.670 g330 g
Smoked mackerel2.235 g1.170 g
Smoked Baltic salmon1.580 g75 g
Smoked Norwegian salmon2.800 g570 g
Smoked sprat4.350 g120 g
Marinated herring flaps2.140 g475 g

SPECIESANNUAL CONSUMPTION OF FISH MEAT [G]WEEKLY CONSUMPTION OF FISH MEAT [G]WEEKLY INTAKE OF DIOXINS + DLPCB [PG]% PTWI
Herring11002152.55.35
Sprat4007.736.23.67
Mackerel4007.70.230.02
Baltic salmon/sea trout100.191.810.18
Norwegian salmon4007.710.541.08
Trout3005.82.260.23
Carp2003.80.530.05
Pollock140026.90.40.04
Pangasius4007.70.120.013
Cod3005.86.090.62
Hake2003.80.120.012
Other70013.50.260.026
TOTAL5810111.79110.8611.29

SPECIESANNUAL CONSUMPTION OF FISH MEAT [G]WEEKLY CONSUMPTION OF FISH MEAT [G]WEEKLY INTAKE OF MERCURY [MG]% PTWI (70KG)
Herring1100211.381.23
Sprat4007.70.20.18
Mackerel4007.70.390.34
Baltic salmon/sea trout100.190.010.009
Norwegian salmon4007.70.310.28
Trout3005.80.320.28
Carp2003.80.140.13
Pollock140026.90.250.22
Pangasius4007.70.040.04
Cod3005.80.270.24
Hake2003.80.020.02
Other70013.50.640.57
TOTAL5810111.793.973.54