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Dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in different fish from the river Elbe and its tributaries, Germany

Abstract

In a long-term program polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) as well as dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (DL-PCBs) were analyzed in the muscle tissue of eels (Anguilla anguilla), bream (Abramis brama), European chub (Leuciscus cephalus) and ide (Leuciscus idus) from the river Elbe and its tributaries Mulde and Saale. The variation of the PCDD/F and DL-PCB concentrations in all fish samples is very large, whereby the DL-PCBs predominate in comparison to the PCDD/Fs. In the eels, the concentrations (pg WHO-TEQ/g ww) for the PCDD/Fs lie in the range of 0.48–22 and for the DL-PCBs between 8.5 and 59. In the whitefish, the concentration range is 0.48–12 for the PCDD/Fs and 1.2–14 for the DL-PCBs. Statistical analysis using relative congener patterns for PCDD/Fs allow spatial correlations to be examined for sub-populations of eels and whitefish. The results are compared to the maximum levels laid down in the European Commission Regulation (EC) No. 466/2001 and the action levels of the European Commission Recommendation 2006/88/EC. Eels caught directly after the major flood in August 2002 as well as eels near Hamburg (years 1996 and 1998) show high concentration peaks. Compared to the eels whitefish is less contaminated with PCDD/Fs and DL-PCBs.

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