Fish from industrially polluted freshwater as the main source of organochlorinated pollutants and increased frequency of thyroid disorders and dysglycemia

Chemosphere. 2007 Apr;67(9):S379-85. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2006.05.132. Epub 2007 Jan 11.


In a certain area of Michalovce district in East Slovakia, heavy industrial pollution by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) developed in 1955-1984 and very high PCB levels in environmental and human samples are still persisting. Recently, a total of 2045 adults from this and the surrounding background pollution area have been examined using questionnaire data, thyroid volume by ultrasound (ThV), urinary iodine and serum levels of 15 PCB congeners, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), 2,2'-2-bis(4-chlorobiphenyl)-1,1-dichloroethylene (DDE), 2,2'-bis(4-chlorophenyl)-1,1,1-trichloroethane (DDT), alpha-, beta- and gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH), thyrotropin (TSH), free thyroxine (FT4), anti-thyroperoxidase antibodies (TPOab) and fasting glucose. As based on our previous findings of strikingly high level of PCBs in fish from high pollution area (e.g. mean level of 375430 ng/g lipid) and considerably lower, but still relatively high level in background pollution area (e.g. mean PCB level of 5150 ng/g), the information on the frequency of fish meals and approximate annual consumption of fish from local waters was obtained by questionnaires. The association of contaminated fish consumption with very high blood levels of PCBs, DDE and HCB and increased ThV as well as with increased frequency of positive TPOab, high values of FT4 and impaired fasting glucose (IFG) was found. These associations were also confirmed in 16 marital pairs from high pollution area with very high PCB level in both members associated with high fish consumption. It was concluded that, due to persistent heavy pollution of waters, soil and food chain namely by PCBs, but also by pesticides (e.g. DDE and HCB) resulting from their previous extensive use in agriculture, the fish from local waters still remains the most important source of these toxic pollutants which results in considerable adverse health effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Fishes
  • Food Contamination*
  • Fresh Water
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / blood
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / toxicity*
  • Hyperglycemia / chemically induced*
  • Hypoglycemia / chemically induced*
  • Iodide Peroxidase / immunology
  • Iodide Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Iodine / urine
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / blood
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / toxicity
  • Slovakia
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thyroid Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Thyroxine / blood
  • Time Factors
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / blood
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Thyrotropin
  • Iodine
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls
  • Iodide Peroxidase
  • Thyroxine