Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Imported Fish


  •   Oiseoje M. Wangboje

  •   Daniel O. Okotie


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are persistent organic pollutants (POPs) which have been described as organohalogenic and legacy contaminants that are hazardous to both wildlife and man. The paucity of ecotoxicological data on the PCB content in commercially important fish in Benin Metropolis, Nigeria, warranted this research. In this stead, the PCB profile in the Atlantic Herring (Clupea harengus, Family: Clupeidae, mean length=31.59 cm; Mean weight=274.98 g) marketed in Benin Metropolis, was determined via Gas Chromatographic technique in order to evaluate its suitability for human consumption and to provide baseline data for this contaminant in commercially important fish species. The summary statistics for the mean concentrations of detectable PCBs in C. harengus ranged from 0.019 mg/kg (PCB 118, 156) to 0.434 mg/kg (PCB 126), with a total of 0.581 mg/kg (w/w) while the mean concentrations of PCBs in C. harengus by market ranged from 0.012 mg/kg (PCB 118) at Santana market to 0.526 mg/kg (PCB 126) at New Benin market with no observed significant difference (p>0.05) in the mean concentrations of PCBs in fish between markets. The toxicity quotient (TQ) values for PCBs in C. harengus ranged from 0.0095 (PCB 118, 156) to 0.217(PCB 126) while the estimated daily intake (EDI) values in mg/person/day for PCBs ranged from 0.00076 (PCB 118, 156) to 0.017 (PCB 126). A toxic equivalency (TEQ) value of 0.04342 while the total PCB content in C. harengus according to market ranged from 0.469 mg/kg (Santana market) to 0.658 mg/kg (Uselu market). The total toxicity of mixtures (TTM) index was 0.291. The PCB levels in fish decreased below International threshold values suggesting suitability for human consumption. Continous monitoring of this fish species for toxic concentrations of PCBs was proferred.

Keywords: Clupea harengus, Polychlorinated biphenyls, Toxic equivalency, Toxic quotient


C.A. DeWit, R. Bossi, R. Dietz, A. Dreyer, S. Faxneld, S.E. Garbus, P. Hellstrom, J. Koschorreck, N. Lohmann, A. Roos, U. Sellstrom, C. Sonne, G. Treu, K. Vorkamp, B. Yuan, and I. Eulaers, “Organohalogen compounds of emerging concern in Baltic Sea biota: Levels, biomagnification potential and comparisons with legacy contaminants,” Environment International, Vol. 144, 2020. DOI.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.106037.

M. Parolini, S. Panseri, F.H. Gaeta, F. Ceriani, B. DeFelice, M. Nobile, G. Mosconi, T. Rafoss, F. Arioli, and L. M. Chiesa, “Legacy and emerging contaminants in dermersal fish species from Southern Norway and implications for food safety.” Foods, Vol. 9:1108, 2020. DOI:10.3390/foods9081108.

W.L. Wu, S.J Deng, H. Zhou, H. Liang, X.F Yang, and J. Wen, “Levels, Congener profile and dietry intake assessment of polychlorinated dibenzofurans and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls in beef, freshwater fish and pork marketed in Guangdong Province, China,” Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 615, pp. 412-421,2020. DOI.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.09.273.

X. Hua, H. Jiang, N. Guo, Y. Du, X. Yuan, T. Deng, X. Teng, Y. Yao, and Y. Li, “Effects of prepubertal exposure to Aroclor-1221 on reproductive development and transcriptional gene expression in female rats,” Reproductive Sciences., 2020. DOI.org/10.1007/s43032-020-00290-8.

S. Kar, P. Sangem, N. Anusha, and B. Senthilkumaran, “Endocrine disruptors in teleosts: Evaluating environmental risks and biomarkers,” Aquaculture and Fisheries, 2020. DOI.org/10.1016/j.aaf.2020.07.013.

M. Llorca, M. Abalos, A. Vega-Herrera, M.A. Adrados, E. Abad, and M. Farre, “Adsorption and desorption behavior of polychlorinated biphenyls onto microplastics surfaces in water/sediment systems.” Toxics. Vol. 8, No. 59, 2020. DOI:10.3390/toxics8030059.

R.A. Hites, D.C. Lehman, A. Salamova, and M. Venier, “Temporal environmental hysteresis: A definition and implication for polybrominated diphenyl ethers,” Science of the Total Environment, 2020. DOI.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141849.

D.K. Prince, S.D. Taylor, and C. Angelini, “A global cross-system meta-analysis of polychlorinated biphenyl biomagnification,” Environmental Science and Technology, 2020. DOI.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b07693.

Y. An, S. Hong, S.J. Yoon, S. J. Cha, K. Shin, and J.S. Khim, J.S. “Current contamination status of traditional and emerging persistent toxic substances in the sediments of Ulsa Bay, South Korea,” Marine Pollution Bulletin. 2020, DOI.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111560.

M. Pruvost-Couvreur, B. LeBizec, I. Margaritis, J. Volatier, C. Bechaux, and G. Riviere, “Impact of dietary guidelines on lifetime exposure to chemical contaminants: Divergent conclusions for two bioaccumulative substances.” Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2020. DOI.org/10.1016/j.fct.2020.111672.

P. Saktrakulkla, T. Lan., J. Hua, R.F., Marek, P.S. Thorne, and K.C. Hornbuckle, “PCBs in Food,” Environmental Science and Technology, 2020. DOI.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c036632

Q. Wang, L. Chu, F. Peng, J. Li., H. Chen, and L. Jin, “Contribution of aquatic products consumption to total human exposure to PAHs in Eastern China: The source matters,” Environmental Pollution. 2020. DOI.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.115339.

B.S. Avila, C. Ramirez, E. Tellez-Avila, and D. Combariza, “Occupational exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in workers at companies in the Colombian electricity sector,” International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 2020. DOI.org/10.1080/09603123.2020.1806213.

J. Lee, S.Y. Lee, K. Park, H. Lim, and H. Shin, “Simultaneous determination of PCBs, OCPs and PAHs in mussel by ultrasound-assisted cloudy extraction and gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry,” Food Additives and Contaminants Part A. 2020. DOI.org/1080/19440049.2020.1798029.

A.E. Artabe, H. Cunha-Silva, and A. Barranco, “Enzymatic assays for assessment of toxic effects of halogenated organic contaminants in water and food. A review,” Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2020. DOI.org/10.1016/j.fct.2020.111677.

A. Baumer, B.I. Escher, J. Landmann, and N. Ulrich, “Direct sample introduction GC-MS/MS for quantification of organic chemicals in mammalian tissues and blood extracted with polymers without clean-up,” Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 2020. DOI.org/10.1007/s00216-020-02864-6.

F. Peng, E.M. Hardy, R. Beranger, S. Mezzache, N. Bourokba, P. Bastien, J. Li., C. Zaros, C. Chevrier, P. Palazzi, J. Soeur, and B.M.R. Appenzeller, “Human exposure to PCBs, PBDEs and biphenols revealed by hair analysis: A comparison between two adult populations in China and France,” Environmental Pollution., 2020. DOI.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.115425.

O.M. Wangboje, and O. Obotha-Adigo, “Residual levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the Atlantic Mackerel (Scomber scombrus, Linnaeus, 1758) marketed within a Niger Delta Community,” European Journal of Agriculture and Food Sciences, 2020. DOI.org/10.24018/ejfood.2020.2.4.93.

Y. Matsuo, K. Nakai, I. Sakuma, K. Akutsu, N. Tatsuta, M. Ishiyama, T. Higuchi, N. Ryuda, and D. Ueno, “Estimation of PCB intake through fish oil derived dietary supplements and prescription drugs in the Japanese population,” Journal of Food Quality and Hazards Control, Vol. 6, pp. 146-152, 2019. DOI:10.18502/jfhc.6.4.1992.

D.C.G. Muir, “Toxic chemical exposure from global fish trade,” Nature Food, Vol. 1, p. 259, 2020. DOI.org/10.1038/s43016-020-0080-3.

Y. Tashiro, A. Goto, and S. Tanabe, “Contamination of Habu (Protobothrops flavoviridis) in Okinawa, Japan by persistent organochlorine chemicals,” Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 2020.DOI.org/10.1007/s11356-020-10510-y.

R.L.A.P. Hoogenboom, G. Ten-Dam, S.P.J. Van-Leeuwen, H. Van-Egmond, J. Nicolina, and A.J.S. Dwarkasing, Chemosphere, 2020. DOI.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.128057.

Environmental Protection Agency, “Parameters of Water Quality. Interpretation and Standards,” EPA, Ireland. 133 pp., 2001.

O.M. Wangboje, S. Akaehomen, and M. Erhayimwen, “Human health risk assessment in relation to heavy metals in the Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scrombrus, L., 1758) sold in some major markets in Benin City, Nigeria,” Tropical Journal of Natural Product Research, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 32-38, 2017. DOI.org/10.26538/tjnpr/v1i1.6.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “FAO species fact sheet-Clupea harengus (Linnaeus, 1758).,”www.fao.org/fishery/species/2886/en Accessed 20 June 2019.

Commission Regulation, “Amending Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006. Setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs,” No 629/2008 of 2 July 2008.

Fish Base, “Clupea harengus, Linnaeus 1758, Atlantic herring,”www.fishbase.se/summary/clupea-harengus.html Accessed 26 August 2020.

Missouri Fish Advisory, “A guide to eating Missouri fish,” Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology (BEE), Missouri, U.S.A. 20 pp., 2020.

New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Digest, “A Summary of Regulations and Freshwater Fisheries Management Information, Freshwater Fishing Season Dates and Limits,” New Jersey Fisheries and Wildlife Department, U.S.A. 48 pp., 2020.

M.J Dellinger, R. Anguzu, N. Pingatore, and M. Ripley, “Risk-benefit modeling to guide health research in collaboration with Great Lakes fish consuming Native American communities,” Journal of Great Lakes Research, 2020. DOI.org/10.1016/j.jglr.2020.08.003.

O.M. Wangboje, O.T. Ekundayo, E.J. Osasehi1, M. Erhayimwen, and U.I. Efenudu, “Human risk associated with potential exposure to heavy metals in a Gadoid fish species from selected markets in Benin City, Nigeria,” Tropical Freshwater Biology, Vol. 28, No. 2, pp.13-31, 2019. DOI.org/10.4314/tfb.v28i2.2.

United States Environmental Protection Agency, “Method 8082: PCBs by Gas Chromatography,” USEPA, Washington, DC, USA., 1996.

E. Kampire, G. Rubidge, and J.B. Adams, “Distribution of polychlorinated biphenyl residues in several tissues of fish from the North End Lake, Port Elizabeth, South Africa,” Water SA., Vol. 41, No. 4, pp. 559-570, 2015. DOI.org/10.4314/wsa.v41i4.16.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, “Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in five fish species from the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary,” NYSDEC, Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, 397pp., 2004.

ANZECC/ARMCANZ, “Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for fresh and marine water quality,” Vol. 1: National Water Quality Management Strategy, Paper No. 4. Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council / Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand, Canberra, Australia. 314 pp., 2000.

O.M. Wangboje, and J. Okpobo, “Potential carcinogenic risk from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in selected smoked fish species from a typical rural market in West Africa,” International Journal of Research and Reviews in Applied Sciences, Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 1-9, 2019.

Codex Alimentarius Commission, “Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme, Codex Committee on contaminants in foods,” Fifth Session, The Hague, The Netherlands, 21-25 March, 2011. Document Number CF/5 INF/1. 90 pp., 2011.

C. Louis, A. Covaci, D.E. Crocker, and C. Debier, C. “Lipophilicity of PCBs and fatty acids determines their mobilization from blubber of weaned northern elephant seal pups,” Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 541, pp. 599-602, 2016. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.09.094.

S. Bourez, C.V. Daelen, S. LeLay, J. Poupaert, Y. Larondelle, J. Thome, Y. Schneider, I. Dugail, and C. Debier, “The dynamics of accumulation of PCBs in cultured adipocytes vary with the cell lipid content and the lipophilicity of the Congener,” Toxicology Letters, Vol. 216, No. 1, pp. 40-46, 2013. DOI:10.1016/j.toxlet.2012.09.027.

The French Agency for Food Environment and Occupational Health and Safety, “PCBs identy sheet,” The French Agency for Food Environment and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES), Maison-Alfort Cedex, France. 14 pp., 2016.

S. Mikolajczyk, M. Warenik-Bany, S. Maszewski, and M. Pajurek, “Farmed fish as a source of dioxins and PCBs for Polish consumers,” Journal of Veterinary Research, 2020. DOI:10.2478/jvetres-2020-0054.

M. Dymkowska-Makesa, A. Plawgo, and Z. Walczak, “Levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) in fish from the Lakes of the Warmia and Mazury Region.” Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering A 1, pp. 250-255, 2012.

D. Lakhmanov, Y. Varakina, A. Aksenov, T. Sorokina, N. Sobolev, D. Kotsur, E. Plakhina, V. Chashchin, and Y. Thomassen, “Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in fish consumed by the indigenous peoples from Nenets Autonomous Okrug,” Environments, Vol. 7, DOI.10.3390/environments7010003.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, “Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) toxicity. What Standards and Regulations exist for PCB exposure,” Health and Medicine Education, ATSDR, Atlanta, U.S.A., 2016. www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp Accessed 27 August 2020.

United States Environmental Protection Agency, “Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): Toxicity and Exposure Assessment for Children’s Health (TEACH),” USEPA, 30 pp.,2009.

C. Dornat-Vargas, B. Moreno-Franco, M. Laclaustra, H. Sandoval-Insausti, E. Jarauta, and P. Guallar-Castillon, “Exposure to dietary PCBs and dioxins and its relationship with subclinical coronary artherosclerosis: The Aragon worker’s health study,” Environment International, 2020. DOI.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.105433.


How to Cite
Wangboje, O. M., & Okotie, D. O. (2021). Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Imported Fish. European Journal of Agriculture and Food Sciences, 3(1), 90–96. https://doi.org/10.24018/ejfood.2021.3.1.232