New EU FISH II Project to study variations in contents of environmental contaminants in Baltic fish


<p>Contents of environmental contaminants in Baltic fish will be studied for the second time in the 2000s. The previous survey was made from 2002 to 2003. Based on results from the project it will be confirmed whether to modify current recommendations to consumers regarding the intake of fish. In addition, new and comparative data on the contents of hazardous substances in fish will be gathered to benefit EU legislative work.</p>

A survey will study the contents of hazardous substances in Baltic fish and domestic lake fish
The EU FISH II Project recently launched will provide data on the contents of hazardous substances such as dioxin and PCB compounds, brominated flame retardants and perfluorinated compounds in Baltic fish and domestic lake fish, on contents by species in fish of various ages and sizes, and on contents variations since the beginning of the 2000s. In addition, the variations of the substances studied in sea and lake fish will be investigated.

The project is carried out under cooperation between experts
This sector study project coordinated by the Food Safety Authority Evira will be financed from 2009 to 2010 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Cooperation partners are Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute RKTL, The National Institute for Health and Welfare THL and Finnish Environment Institute SYKE. These institutions also contribute to financing the study.

RKTL will collect some 1 000 fish samples, THL analyzes the presence of dioxin, PCB compounds, brominated flame retardants, and perfluorinated compounds in fish muscles and livers. SYKE maintains a sample bank by which the same fish samples also later can be analyzed if necessary. This study also supports SYKE’s environmental control and related international activities.

Evira will define the exposure of consumers to environmental toxins in fish by performing calculations on the intake of these substances, which then jointly can be utilized to evaluate benefits and risks in fish consumption. Consumer safety when necessary will be observed by issuing new exceptions to general recommendations on the dietary intake of fish.

Study results will be applied when the European Commission amends regulations
Results from the study will be sent to the Commission as required by the terms in the exception set for Finland and Sweden in connection with regulations on maximum contents. Finland and Sweden may within their respective areas sell fish caught in the Baltic Sea even though contents of dioxin and PCB in the fish would exceed maximum contents defined for such fish. The Commission’s legislative body will process amendments to the regulation in 2011.

Additional information:
Research professor Anja Hallikainen, Evira t. 050 3868 433, anja.hallikainen
Senior researcher Pekka J. Vuorinen, RKTL t. 020 575 1277, pekka.vuorinen
Senior researcher Jaakko Mannio, SYKE t. 0400 148 604, jaakko.mannio
Senior researcher, Head of Unit Hannu Kiviranta, THL t. 020 610 6361, hannu.kiviranta


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