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Environ Pollut. 2007 Nov;150(1):177-92. Epub 2007 Aug 8.

Accumulation of cyanobacterial toxins in freshwater "seafood" and its consequences for public health: a review.

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  • 1Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Sciences and Technology, Centre of Ecology, Evolution and Biogeochemistry, Seestrasse 79, CH-6047 Kastanienbaum, Switzerland.


This review summarizes and discusses the current understanding of human exposure to cyanobacterial toxins in "seafood" collected from freshwater and coastal areas. The review consists of three parts: (a) the existing literature on concentrations of cyanobacterial toxins in seafood is reviewed, and the likelihood of bioaccumulation discussed; (b) we derive cyanotoxin doses likely to occur through seafood consumption and propose guideline values for seafood and compare these to guidelines for drinking water; and (c) we discuss means to assess, control or mitigate the risks of exposure to cyanotoxins through seafood consumption. This is discussed in the context of two specific procedures, the food specific HACCP-approach and the water-specific Water Safety Plan approach by the WHO. Risks of exposure to cyanotoxins in food are sometimes underestimated. Risk assessments should acknowledge this and investigate the partitioning of exposure between drinking-water and food, which may vary depending on local circumstances.

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