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Environ Int. 2007 Apr;33(3):397-405. Epub 2007 Jan 30.

Levels of PCDD/PCDFs and PCBs in edible marine species and human intake: a literature review.

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Laboratory of Toxicology and Environmental Health, School of Medicine, Rovira i Virgili University, San Lorenzo 21, 43201 Reus, Spain.


Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), dibenzofurans (PCDFs) and biphenyls (PCBs) are lipophilic organic compounds whose origin comes from many different sources. PCDD/Fs and PCBs are ubiquitous and persistent environmental pollutants with a well known potential toxicity, which were included at the 1998 UN-EC POP protocol. Although human exposure to PCDD/Fs and PCBs can occur by various routes, food is the primary source. A number of studies have shown that the major food sources of these organic pollutants are fat-containing animal products, including fish and other seafood. Because of the frequent health recommendations concerning fish consumption, to determine the contribution to the dietary intake of chemical contaminants such as PCDD/Fs and PCBs through fish and other seafood consumption is an issue of special interest. This paper reviews the state of the science regarding recent literature on PCDD/F and PCB levels in marine species and human intake through fish and seafood consumption. The concentrations of these pollutants depend basically on the environment in which the respective species are caught. It is concluded that some groups of population frequently consuming high quantities of certain species could be significantly increasing health risks due to PCDD/F and PCB exposure.

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