In this work we have evaluated the potential carcinogenic and acutely toxic risks associated to the exposure to highly prevalent organic and inorganic contaminants through the consumption of fishery products by the Spanish population. The concentrations of 8 organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), 18 polychlorinated biphenils (PCBs), 7 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (expressed as benzo[a]pyrene toxic equivalents (B[a]Peq)), and three inorganic toxic elements [arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), and mercury (Hg)] were determined in 93 samples of the most consumed species of white fish, blue fish, cephalopods and seafood species, which were acquired directly in markets and supermarkets in the Canary Islands, Spain. The chemical concentration data were combined with the pattern of consumption of these foodstuffs in order to calculate the daily intake of these contaminants, and on this basis the risk quotients for carcinogenicity and acute toxicity were determined for Spanish adults and children. Our results showed that the daily intake of OCPs, PCBs and B[a]Peq, which is associated to blue fish consumption was the highest within the fish group. The estimated intake of pollutants can be considered low or very low for the individual contaminants, when compared to reference values, except in the case of HCB and As. All the estimated intakes were below the reported Tolerable Daily Intakes. Considering the additive effects of multiple contaminants, the risk of acute toxic effects can also be considered as low or very low. However, our results reflect that the current consumption of white fish in adults and children, and also the blue fish in the case of adults, poses a moderate carcinogenic risk to Spanish consumers, mainly related to their concentrations of As. The conclusions of this research may be useful for the design of appropriate risk communication campaigns.
Keywords: Arsenic; Carcinogenic potential; Organochlorine pesticides; PCBs; Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; Risk assessment.
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