Environmental contaminants of emerging concern in seafood - European database on contaminant levels

Griet Vandermeersch, Helena Maria Lourenço, Diana Alvarez-Muñoz, Sara Cunha, Jorge Diogène, German Cano-Sancho, Jens Jørgen Sloth, Christiaan Kwadijk, Damia Barcelo, Wim Allegaert, Karen Bekaert, José Oliveira Fernandes, Antonio Marques, Johan Robbens

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Marine pollution gives rise to concern not only about the environment itself but also about the impact on food safety and consequently on public health. European authorities and consumers have therefore become increasingly worried about the transfer of contaminants from the marine environment to seafood.So-called "contaminants of emerging concern" are chemical substances for which no maximum levels have been laid down in EU legislation, or substances for which maximum levels have been provided but which require revision. Adequate information on their presence in seafood is often lacking and thus potential risks cannot be excluded. Assessment of food safety issues related to these contaminants has thus become urgent and imperative. A database (www.ecsafeseafooddbase.eu), containing available information on the levels of contaminants of emerging concern in seafood and providing the most recent data to scientists and regulatory authorities, was developed.The present paper reviews a selection of contaminants of emerging concern in seafood including toxic elements, endocrine disruptors, brominated flame retardants, pharmaceuticals and personal care products, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and derivatives, microplastics and marine toxins. Current status on the knowledge of human exposure, toxicity and legislation are briefly presented and the outcome from scientific publications reporting on the levels of these compounds in seafood is presented and discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue numberPart B
Pages (from-to)29-45
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Environmental Science (all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Emerging food contaminants
  • Environmental contaminants
  • European database
  • Food safety
  • Seafood


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