Levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in a coastal northern Norwegian population with high fish-liver intake

J Environ Monit. 2006 May;8(5):552-7. doi: 10.1039/b600046k. Epub 2006 Apr 19.


Recent research has again raised the issue regarding the potential health effects of long term exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the context of a risk-benefit analysis. There remains clear evidence of the beneficial effects of fish consumption on public health and in particular fatty fish with its essential fatty acids. In addition to providing fatty acids, fish fat constitutes an essential source to vitamin D for the northern Norwegian population. Norwegian Food Control Authorities have recommended that children and women of childbearing age should not consume fish liver due to the risk associated with high intake of POPs. The aim of this study was to assess the influence of fish liver intake on the levels of PCBs and chlorinated pesticides in a rural coastal community (n = 31) in northern Norway, applying a cross-sectional design. The geometric mean plasma levels of sum of PCBs (14 congeners) and p,p'-DDE was found to be 558 microg kg(-1) lipids and 179 microg kg(-1) lipids, respectively. These levels were not significantly affected by the reported intake of fish liver, when age and gender were considered. Age in particular, but also gender were significant predictors for most compounds. When merging the dataset with an urban population with considerable lower intake of fish liver, the intake of cod liver still did not significantly affect the levels of PCBs and p,p'-DDE when adjusted for age and gender. Age and gender remain the strongest predictors of plasma levels of POPs in this study whereas fish liver intake was not significantly associated with the POPs.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene / blood
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood*
  • Female
  • Fishes
  • Food Contamination*
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / blood*
  • Liver / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / blood*
  • Sex Factors


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Insecticides
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls