Consumption advisories for salmon based on risk of cancer and noncancer health effects

Environ Res. 2006 Jun;101(2):263-74. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2005.08.011. Epub 2005 Sep 29.


The levels of dioxins/furans, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and chlorinated pesticides were determined in farmed salmon for eight regions in Europe, North America, and South America, in salmon fillets purchased in 16 cities in Europe and North America, and in five species of wild Pacific salmon. Upon application of US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) methods for developing fish consumption advisories for cancer from mixtures of all of these substance for which USEPA has reported a cancer slope factor, the most stringent recommendation, for farmed salmon from northern Europe, was for consumption of at most one meal every 5 months in order to not exceed an elevated risk of cancer of more than 1 in 100,000. Farmed salmon from North and South America triggered advisories of between 0.4 and one meal per month. Retail market samples, in general, reflected levels found in regionally farmed fish, although much of the US salmon comes from Chile, which had somewhat lower contaminant levels than the North American farmed samples. Upon consideration of all of these organochlorine compounds as a mixture, even wild Pacific salmon triggered advisories of between one and less than five meals per month. The advisories are driven by the non-dioxin-like PCBs and pesticides and not by dioxins/furans and coplanar PCBs. For noncancer effects for contaminants where USEPA has provided a reference dose only endrin and PCBs triggered any significant advisory. For both of these in the worst case, farmed salmon from northern Europe, the advice was not more than three meals per month.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet*
  • Dioxins / toxicity
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Furans / toxicity
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • North America
  • Pesticides / toxicity
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / toxicity
  • Salmon*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity


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