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Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2004 Oct;40(2):125-35.

Contribution of PCB exposure from fish consumption to total dioxin-like dietary exposure.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Health and Institute for Risk Analysis and Risk Communication, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98105, USA.


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) are the second greatest cause of fish advisories, and are often the greatest contributors to dioxin-like toxic equivalency (TEQ) in fish and seafood. Because fish consumption is associated with both contaminant risks and health benefits, incremental health risks from PCBs in fish should be considered within the context of overall TEQ associated dietary risk to enable consumers to make informed decisions about choosing to eat fish or alternate foodstuffs. In this paper, potential TEQ exposure from PCBs in fish for adults with a variety of consumption patterns and consuming fish from a variety of sources are calculated using recent consumption and fish contaminant data from the literature and compared to total TEQ exposure from all sources. For high-level consumers and individuals eating fish from relatively contaminated sites, PCB TEQ exposure from fish consumption alone may exceed the 1 pg TEQ/kg/day average adult daily intake estimated by EPA, which itself carries an upper bound cancer risk of 1 in 1000. PCB TEQ risk for average consumers of commercial fish is expected to be far less, but is highly uncertain, since there is a dearth of congener specific PCB data for commercial fish and seafood.

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