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Geographic Differences in Persistent Organic Pollutant Levels of Yellowfin Tuna.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1289/ehp518
BackgroundFish are a source of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the human diet. Although species, trophic level, and means of production are typically considered in predicting fish pollutant load, and thus recommendations of consumption, capture location is usually not accounted for.
ObjectivesYellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) are harvested from across the world's oceans and are widely consumed. Here, we determined geographic variation in the overall mass, concentration, and composition of POPs in yellowfin and examined the differences in levels of several POP congeners of potential relevance to human health.
MethodsWe sampled dorsal muscle of 117 yellowfin tuna from 12 locations worldwide, and measured POP levels using combined liquid or gas chromatography and mass spectrometry according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standard procedures.
ResultsPOP levels varied significantly among sites, more than 36-fold on a mass basis. Individual fish levels ranged from 0.16 to 138.29 ng/g wet weight and lipid-normalized concentrations from 0.1 to 12.7 μM. Levels of 10 congeners that interfere with the cellular defense protein P-glycoprotein, termed transporter interfering compounds (TICs), ranged from 0.05 to 35.03 ng/g wet weight and from 0.03 to 3.32 μM in tuna lipid. Levels of TICs, and their individual congeners, were strongly associated with the overall POP load. Risk-based analysis of several carcinogenic POPs indicated that the fish with the highest levels of these potentially harmful compounds were clustered at specific geographic locations.
ConclusionsCapture location is an important consideration when assessing the level and risk of human exposure to POPs through ingestion of wild fish. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP518.
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