Occurrence of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in a large number of wild and farmed aquatic animals collected in the Netherlands

Effrosyni Zafeiraki, Wouter A. Gebbink, Ron L.A.P. Hoogenboom, Michiel Kotterman, Christiaan Kwadijk, Emmanouil Dassenakis, Stefan P.J. van Leeuwen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


A range of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) was analysed in marine fish, farmed fish, crustaceans, bivalves and European eel caught in (mostly) Dutch waters, or purchased at Dutch markets (approximately 250 samples, collected between 2012 and 2018). ΣPFAS levels were highest in eels collected from rivers and lakes (average 43.6 ng/g and max 172 ng/g), followed by shrimps collected near the Dutch coast (average 6.7 and max. 33 ng/g ww), and seabass (average 4.5 and max. 9.4 ng/g ww). Most of the farmed fish (e.g. trout, catfish, turbot, salmon, tilapia, pangasius) were among the lowest contaminated samples in this study (averages ranged from 0.06 to 1.5 ng/g ww). Geographically, levels in marine fish from the northern North Sea (e.g. haddock, whiting, herring) were lower than in the central and southern North Sea (e.g. cod and flatfish). Concerning eel, no substantial geographical differences were found (apart from two distinct locations). The contamination pattern was similar in all species, where PFOS mostly dominated the profile, and other long-chain PFASs being frequently detected. Short-chain PFASs were rarely found. PFOS concentrations in eel varied from 3.3 ng/g (close to the North Sea) to 67 ng/g ww in eel caught from Ghent-Terneuzen canal. The majority of detected PFOS levels in eels (93%) and 1 shrimp sample from Eems-Dollard exceeded the EU Environmental Quality Standard (EQS) for surface water of 9.1 μg/kg ww. Other samples (e.g. shrimps, bivalves, flounder), subject to the EQS, did not exceed this level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-423
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • PFOS
  • PFOA
  • eel
  • Fish food safety
  • EQS


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