Newsletter No 3 september 2009

Chemical pollutants in fish


CB_pollutants in fishthe levels are below the legislative limits. This is shown by phd research from Stefan van Leeuwen of the Institute of Environmental Studies of the VU University of Amsterdam
Van Leeuwen investigated the presence of chemical pollutants in fish destined for human consumption. The investigated species included herring, salmon, flounder, cod, coalfish, mussels, shrimps and eel. In addition, new farmed species like tilapia, shrimps and pangasius were included. The pollutants are present in the environment and are taken up by the fish mainly through their diet. In case of farmed fish, the pollutants are present in their feed. The investigated pollutants were dioxins, PCBs, DDT, lindane, brominated flame retardants and fluorinated chemicals.
The levels of pollutants were in most cases below the legislative limits, except for eels from the major and polluted rivers like Meuse and Rhine. Dioxins and PCBs in these samples were several times above the limits. The pollutant levels in farmed pangasius, tilapia and shimps distinguished as they were up to hundred times lower than in most wild caught fish.  Levels in farmed salmon and wild caught herring were intermediate.
This investigation shows that most Dutch are not at risk when consuming the investigated species. Only when frequently consuming large quantities of eel from the polluted rivers may result in a health risk. This, however, occurs seldom.

For more information: Prof. dr. Jacob de Boer