Fate of Persistent Organic Pollutants in the Venice Lagoon: from the Environment to Human Beings Through Biological Exploitation?
The Lagoon of Venice has been receiving discharges of many classes of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that have been accumulating in sediments and marine organisms and might represent an indirect threat to human health. In particular, the intensive harvesting of Manila Clam (Tapes philippinarum) and other traditional fishing activities carried out in the lagoon represent the highest direct source of risk for human health. This paper presents an overview of sources and fates of dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls and hexachlorobenzene in the Lagoon of Venice. Pollution data of environmental matrices (atmospheric depositions, water and sediments) and biota (clams) of the lagoon are presented for describing the environmental and biological contamination. Evidences on possible human contamination are derived from recent data of POPs in mother milk and blood serum of Venetians with different work exposure and food habits. This overview evidences a critical environmental state for some areas of the Venice Lagoon and confirms a non-negligible human health risk for regular shellfish and fish consumers. The overview supports the need for keeping some lagoon areas restricted to fishing and for maintaining the current situation under monitoring.
KeywordsPOPs dioxins polychlorinated biphenyls hexachlorobenzene monitoring
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