Perch caught from Helsinki Vanhankaupunginlahti Bay not to be eaten exclusively

5.7.2007

<div>The Food Safety Authority recommends that perch caught from the Vanhankaupunginlahti Bay in Helsinki should due to high levels of organic tin compounds not be eaten exclusively. Organic tin compounds are suspected to fall into compounds that disrupt hormonal functions. The use of organic tin compounds in antifouling paints was banned in Finland and other EU member countries in 2003.</div>

The Food Safety Authority Evira, the National Public Health Institute and the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute have conducted a three-year joint project titled ”Levels of organic tin compounds in domestic fresh and seawater fish”. During the project, levels of organic tin compounds were measured in flesh samples of roach, pikeperch and perch caught from the Helsinki Vanhankaupunginlahti Bay. The fish were caught in May 2006.

Individual perch from Vanhankaupunginlahti Bay (a total of 29 samples) showed unexpectedly high levels of organic tin compounds. Their average level was 193 micrograms/kg, with a range of variation of 27 – 659 micrograms/kg for fish 14 -35 cm in length. The level of organic tin compounds was the higher the bigger the fish. Corresponding levels have been measured e.g. in River Elbe in Germany.

The European Food Safety Authority EFSA has assesses that the level of organic tin compounds (sum total of TBT, TPT, DBT and DOT) should not exceed the tolerable daily intake, i.e. 0.25 micrograms/kg of body weight. In other words, the maximum exposure to these compounds for a person weighing 60 kg is 15 micrograms per day. If the fish contains 150 micrograms/kg of organic tin compounds, the maximum intake of 15 micrograms is obtained from 100 g of fish. 

Further research is carried out in collaboration with the Finnish Environment Centre to identify the sources of organic tin compounds in Vanhankaupunginlahti Bay. As most organic tin compounds are banned in antifouling paints and in industry, the levels can be expected to fall in the long term, in both sediments and fish. Experience gained e.g. in Germany supports this.

Links:
Results of the research project (in Finnish): http://www.evira.fi/portal/fi/elintarvikkeet/elintarviketietoa/vierasaineet/orgaaniset_tinayhdisteet/
EFSA's risk assessment: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/science/contam/contam_opinions/658.html

For more information, please contact:
Project leader (risk management), Anja Hallikainen, Food Safety Authority Evira tel. +358 (0) 20 77 24287, +358 (0) 50 3868 433
Chemical analyses, Panu Rantakokko, National Public Health Institute tel. +358 (0) 17 201 395
Sampling, Pekka Vuorinen, Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute tel. +358 (0) 205 751 277
Recreational fishing in Helsinki, Matti Mielonen, City of Helsinki tel. +358 (0) 9 31087824
Recreational fishing, Mikko Koivurinta, Uusimaa Employment and Economic Development Centre tel. +358 (0) 10 6021357

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