Integrated risk index for seafood contaminants (IRISC): Pilot study in five European countries

German Cano-Sancho, Isabelle Sioen, Griet Vandermeersch, Silke Jacobs, Johan Robbens, Martí Nadal, José L Domingo
Environmental Research 2015, 143 (Pt B): 109-15
Consumption of seafood is one of the most relevant pathways of exposure to environmental pollutants present in food. The list of toxic compounds in seafood is very extensive, including heavy metals, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In order to quantify the importance of the problem, tools to combine and simplify large data collections are mandatory for risk managers and decision-makers. In this study, the development of a prioritization setting focusing on chemical hazards taken up through seafood was aimed. For this purpose, the toxicity data of several chemicals was integrated with concentration and seafood consumption data, building an integrated risk index for seafood contaminants (IRISC) able to draw a map of risk for each chemical and family of chemicals. A pilot trial was performed on a sample of 74 pollutants, four seafood species and five European countries (Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain). The preliminary results revealed that Portugal and Spain presented the highest IRISC, while Belgium was the region with the lowest IRISC. The contribution of each group of contaminants to the IRISC was very similar among countries, with heavy metals being the major contributor, followed by PCBs, PCDD/Fs and endocrine disrupting compounds. When the contribution of different seafood species to the Risk Indexes (RIs) was compared, the results elucidated the high input from sardines, showing the highest rates (54.9-76.1) in the five countries. The IRISC provides a friendly approach to the chemical risk scene in Europe, establishing normalized prioritization criteria considering toxicity and consumption as well as concentration of each chemical.

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