PCBs, PCDD/Fs, and organochlorine pesticides in farmed Atlantic salmon from Maine, eastern Canada, and Norway, and wild salmon from Alaska

Environ Sci Technol. 2006 Sep 1;40(17):5347-54. doi: 10.1021/es061006c.


Farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) from Maine and eastern Canada, wild Alaskan Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), and organically farmed Norwegian salmon samples were analyzed for the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxin-like PCBs, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), dibenzo-p-furans (PCDFs), and chlorinated pesticides. PCDD and PCDF congeners were not detected in > 80% of the samples analyzed. Total PCB concentrations (7.2-29.5 ng/g, wet weight, ww) in the farmed salmon were significantly higher than those in the wild Alaskan Chinook samples (3.9-8.1 ng/g, ww). Concentrations of PCBs, WHO PCB TEQs, and chlorinated pesticides varied significantly by region. PCB and WHO PCB TEQ concentrations in farmed salmon from eastern Canada were lower than those reported in samples collected two years earlier, possibly reflecting recent industry efforts to lower contaminant concentrations in feed. Organically farmed Norwegian salmon had the highest concentrations of PCBs (mean: 27 ng/g, ww) and WHO PCB TEQs (2.85 pg/g,ww); their TEQ values are in the higher range of those reported in farmed salmon from around the world. Removal of skin from salmon fillets resulted in highly variable reductions of lipids and contaminants, and in some skin-off samples, contaminant levels were higher, suggesting that skin removal does not protect the consumer from health risks associated with consumption of farmed salmon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alaska
  • Animals
  • Benzofurans / analysis*
  • Canada
  • Dibenzofurans, Polychlorinated
  • Maine
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Norway
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / analysis*
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / analogs & derivatives*
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / analysis
  • Salmon
  • Skin / chemistry


  • Benzofurans
  • Dibenzofurans, Polychlorinated
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls