Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in marine fishes from China: Levels, distribution and risk assessment

Chonghuan Xia, James C.W. Lam, Xiaoguo Wu, Zhouqing Xie, Paul K.S. Lam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Muscle tissues of large yellow croakers (Pseudosciaena crocea) and sliver pomfret (Pampus argenteus) from nine coastal cities of East China including Dalian, Tianjin, Qingdao, Shanghai, Zhoushan, Wenzhou, Fuzhou, Quanzhou and Xiamen were analyzed for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations. Thirty-six PCB congeners were quantified in the fishes, of which 11 congeners were dioxin-like PCBs. The total PCB concentrations of the present study were at the low end of the global range, which may be related to the smaller usage and shorter consumption history of PCBs in China. PCBs 18, 29, 52, 66, 101, 104, 138, 153, 180 and 194 were the major constituents found in the fish samples. Regression analysis showed a strong positive correlation (R2=0.800; p<0.001) between total dioxin-like PCBs and total PCB concentrations, and that total PCB concentrations explain 80% of the variability in total dioxin-like PCB concentrations. Among the species investigated, significantly higher concentrations of total PCBs were found in croakers than in pomfrets, which may be attributed to their different feeding and living habits. No significant difference in total PCB concentrations among the cities was observed; principal component analysis (PCA) of PCB profiles indicated that PCB pollution came from similar sources in the sampling areas and that there may be other PCB sources in Dalian and Wenzhou. The calculated carcinogenic risks (CRs) from the two species based on a low consumption group and high consumption group were all greater than 10-6, suggesting that daily exposure to dioxin-like PCBs via fish consumption results in a lifetime cancer risk of greater than one in one million. In contrast, the hazard quotients (HQs) of noncancer risks were all less than unity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)944-949
Number of pages6
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • Coastal
  • Fish
  • Human health risk assessment
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)


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