Body burden levels of dioxin, furans, and PCBs among frequent consumers of Great Lakes sport fish. The Great Lakes Consortium

Environ Res. 1999 Feb;80(2 Pt 2):S19-S25. doi: 10.1006/enrs.1998.3906.


Dioxins, furans, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are toxic, persist in the environment, and bioaccumulate to concentrations that can be harmful to humans. Sport anglers may be exposed to these residues via consumption of contaminated Great Lakes (GL) fish. The Health Departments of five GL states, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana, formed a consortium to study body burden levels of chemical residues in fish consumers of Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie. In Fall 1993, a telephone survey was administered to sport angler households to obtain fish consumption habits and demographics. A blood sample was obtained from a portion of the study subjects. One hundred serum samples were analyzed for 8 dioxin, 10 furan, and 4 coplanar PCB congeners. Multiple linear regression was conducted to assess the predictability of the following covariates: GL sport fish species, age, BMI, gender, years sport fish consumed, and lake. Of the 100 subjects, there were 58 men; 35 consumed sport fish from Lake Michigan, 29 from Lake Huron, and 36 from Lake Erie. The overall average number of GL sport fish meals consumed in the previous 12 months was 43. Lake Erie male and female consumers, on average, ate more GL sport fish, a mean of 57 and 42 meals, respectively, than men and women from the other two lake subgroups. Median total dioxin toxic equivalents (TEq), total furan TEq, and total coplanar PCB TEq were higher among all men than all women (P=0.0001). Lake trout, salmon, age, BMI, and gender were significant regression predictors of log(total coplanar PCBs). Lake trout, age, gender, and lake were significant regression predictors of log(total furans). Age was the only significant predictor of total dioxin levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Body Burden
  • Demography
  • Dioxins / blood*
  • Eating
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood*
  • Female
  • Fishes
  • Food Contamination*
  • Furans / blood*
  • Great Lakes Region
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / blood*
  • Sports
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / blood*


  • Dioxins
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Furans
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls