Other metals

The levels of other heavy metals in Finnish fish are clearly lower than the limit values laid down in the EU, with the exception of the mercury levels of pikes in inland water bodies.

Lead and cadmium are found in Baltic fish in levels that are of no significance to health. The levels of lead and cadmium in fish are regulated in EU's Contaminant Regulation and the permitted levels are low. 

Arsenic is currently undergoing an assessment procedure in the Legislation Working Group of the EU Commission as to the need for maximum levels in food legislation. It is considered advisable to determine more accurately the levels of particularly inorganic and organic arsenic in different foods. As arsenic is a carcinogenic compound, it is important to establish its levels in foods. However, in fish arsenic is primarily found in less harmless organic compounds.

Nickel emissions from mining areas can result in uncontrolled contamination of nature and important fish waters. Soluble nickel can in high levels be acutely toxic and cause fish mortality. The possible levels of nickel in domestic fish are not known at present. Ingested nickel is not a carcinogen, but may affect the function of e.g. kidneys, lungs or spleen. 

Arsenic

  • a semimetal found in nature as both a toxic inorganic compound and a less harmful organic compound
  • can occur as an impurity in nickel ore and peat

Nickel

  • a heavy metal of the iron group
  • the largest nickel mine in Europe is in Talvivaara, Finland
  • nickel is used in industry as a raw material for steel and other metal alloys