Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 1355–1369 | Cite as

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in commonly consumed seafood from the coastal area of Bangladesh: occurrence, distribution, and human health implications

  • Md. Habibullah-Al-MamunEmail author
  • Md. Kawser Ahmed
  • Md. Saiful Islam
  • Anwar Hossain
  • Masahiro Tokumura
  • Shigeki Masunaga
Research Article


Dietary intake is the most important route of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) exposure and seafood is the major dietary component for the coastal populations. It is, therefore, an urgent need to assess the levels of PCBs in seafood. A comprehensive congener-specific evaluation of PCBs was carried out for the first time in Bangladesh. All 209 congeners of PCBs in 48 seafood samples (5 finfish and 2 shellfish species) collected in winter and summer of 2015 were measured by GC-MS/MS. Regardless of season and site, the ∑PCBs (ng/g wet weight) in finfish and shellfish were in the range of 6.4–86.2 and 3.8–37.7, respectively. The results were comparable to or higher than those observed in other studies worldwide, particularly from Spain, China, Korea, Thailand, and Hong Kong. No significant seasonal variation was observed in the levels of ∑PCBs in the examined seafood (p > 0.05); however, interspecies differences were significant (p < 0.05). Nonetheless, spatial distribution revealed seafood collected from the areas with recent urbanization and industrialization (Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, and Sundarbans) were more contaminated with PCBs than the area unaffected by industries (Meghna Estuary). Moderately chlorinated (4–6 Cl) homologs dominated the PCB profiles. The congener profile and homolog composition revealed that the source origin of PCBs in the Bangladeshi seafood was related to mixtures of technical PCBs formulations. The dietary exposure assessment revealed that the coastal residents are sufficiently exposed to the dietary PCBs through seafood consumption which may cause severe health risk including dioxin-like toxic effects.


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) Seafood Health risk Coastal area Bangladesh 



This study was supported by the FY2016 Asia Focused Academic Research Grant from the Heiwa Nakajima Foundation ( The authors are also grateful for financial support for Dr. Md. Habibullah-Al-Mamun from the Research Collaboration Promotion Fund provided by Graduate School of Environment and Information Sciences, Yokohama National University, Japan (Grant No. 65A0516). Furthermore, we are thankful for the kind help from the members of Dhaka University, Bangladesh, during the field sampling.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3671_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.7 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1692 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Environment and Information SciencesYokohama National UniversityYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.Department of FisheriesUniversity of DhakaDhakaBangladesh
  3. 3.Department of Oceanography, Earth & Environmental Science FacultyUniversity of DhakaDhakaBangladesh
  4. 4.Department of Soil SciencePatuakhali Science and Technology UniversityPatuakhaliBangladesh
  5. 5.Graduate School of Nutritional and Environmental ScienceUniversity of ShizuokaShizuokaJapan
  6. 6.Faculty of Environment and Information SciencesYokohama National UniversityYokohamaJapan

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