Congener-specific accumulation of persistent organic pollutants in marine fish from the Northeast Atlantic Ocean
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonJournal of Hazardous Materials. 2023, 457, 131758. 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2023.131758
Bioaccumulation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in marine fish may pose a health risk to human consumers. Using data from ∼8400 individuals of 15 fish species collected in the North-East Atlantic Ocean (NEAO), we assessed concentrations of individual POP congeners, including dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). POPs analyses were performed with accredited methods using high-resolution gas chromatography/high-resolution mass spectrometry, gas chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) and GC/MS. The results showed that POPs congener composition profiles were more influenced by fish species than by geography. However, due to long range transport from emissions at lower latitudes, lighter congeners made a larger contribution to the total POPs concentrations in the northernmost areas compared to southern regions. A model was developed to elucidate the relative effects of several factors on POPs concentrations and showed that variation among and within fish species was associated with fat content, fish size, trophic position, and latitude. For the first time, POPs concentrations were shown to increase nonlinearly with fat content, reaching an asymptotic plateau when fat content was > 10%. This study explored detailed POP congener profiles and the factors associated with POPs accumulation in commercially relevant fish harvested from the NEAO.