Levels of Persistent Organochlorine Contaminants in Fish from Korea and Their Potential Health Risk

  • U. H. YimEmail author
  • S. H. Hong
  • W. J. Shim
  • J. R. Oh


Organochlorine contaminants in the muscles of sport and market fish were determined to understand the potential risks to humans consuming fish originating in Korea’s coastal waters. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs; sum of 22 congeners) and DDTs were the dominant contaminants, and their concentrations were in the range of 2.96 to 96.6 and 0.84 to 27.0 ng/g (wet weight basis), respectively. The highest PCB concentrations were found in samples taken from an industrial complex. Hexachlorocyclohexanes, chlordane-related compounds, and hexachlorobenzene concentrations were relatively low and ranged from 0.64 to 5.6, 0.17 to 4.24, and 0.08 to 1.58, respectively. Sport fish had levels of PCBs and DDTs approximately two times higher than market fish, implying that sport fish posed high potential risk of contamination with OCs. Risk-based screening value (SV) based on U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) method was calculated using the USEPA approach to identify the primary chemicals of concern. Total PCB concentrations in all sport and market fish exceeded the SV (5.04 ng/g based on total PCBs), but the other compounds were mostly below SV values. Based on the estimated SVs, PCB compounds were identified as potential chemicals of concern.


PCBs Fish Consumption Total PCBs Heptachlor Epoxide Sport Fish 
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The authors thank Dr. Narayanan Kannan for valuable comments. This work was supported by grants-in-aid from Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute (Project No. PE873-00) and the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (Grant No. R03-2003-000-10060-0).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • U. H. Yim
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. H. Hong
    • 1
  • W. J. Shim
    • 1
  • J. R. Oh
    • 1
  1. 1.Southern Coastal Environment Research DivisionKorea Ocean Research and Development InstituteJangmok-myonKorea

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