Priority environmental contaminants in seafood: safety assessment, impact and public perception
Despite seafood is a high quality, healthy and safe food item, some seafood can accumulate environmental chemical contaminants with impact on human health. Limited information is available for chemical contaminants for which no legislation or limits set by seafood authorities exist. In order to increase seafood safety to consumers, ECsafeSEAFOOD aims to assess safety issues related to non-regulated priority chemical contaminants and evaluate their impact on public health (including endocrine disruptors, pharmaceutical and personal care products, metal species, biotoxins from harmful algal blooms, marine litter and associated chemicals). The project is relevant for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and especially for the aspects regarding contaminants in fish and seafood which will be useful to determine the Good Environmental Status of EU waters.
The ECsafeSEAFOOD project contributes to the necessary baseline for the presence of non-regulated environmental contaminants in seafood, prioritizes those that are real hazards for human health, and improves knowledge on the transfer of relevant contaminants between the environment and seafood, taking into account the effect of climate change. The project is working on an online database that will incorporate the available information about contaminants level in seafood and toxicity. In parallel, seafood is being collected in five hot spot areas across Europe for
quantification of contaminants. Also, a European online survey has been finalized to understand consumer behaviour and choices. The toxicological characterization of seafood contaminants is performed in realistic conditions using cell lines and zebrafish embryos. Such information is crucial to accomplish accurate risk assessment and measure the potential impact of seafood contaminants on public health using in-depth probabilistic exposure tools. The project has started to develop new detection tools (using immunochemical assays and sensors) designed
ACCESS dedicates an important effort to the potential impacts shipping activities might have on the sensitive marine environment, including air pollution and long range transport of pollutants by the atmospheric circulation, soot and black carbon deposition on sea-ice, oil spill and ballasting ship tanks in the Arctic Ocean. ACCESS is focusing on enhancing knowledge related to bio-economic and socio-economic aspects of fish resources and aquaculture in the context of climate change in the Arctic. It is the aim of ACCESS to assess the opportunities and multiple risks related to oil and gas extraction in the Arctic Ocean, to highlight potential environmental pressures, provide pathways for technological, legal and institutional solutions and to analyse the socio-economic impacts of resource extraction activity oto enable the easier and faster assessment of the presence of environmental contaminants in seafood products. At last, simulated conditions were created to assess links between the level of contaminants in the environment and that in seafood taking into account the effect of climate changes. Concerning dissemination activities, the project has already identified the most relevant European stakeholders to share the results that will be obtained in the project, including risk managers, in order to reduce public health risks from seafood consumption. The new information will enable to refine or establish Maximum Reference Levels in seafood for contaminants that are real hazards and for which no legislation exists or information is still insufficient. European, world markets and societies. ACCESS gathers the expertise from 28 partners across Europe including a substantial involvement from the private sector. A key objective of ACCESS is to point out governance options in the context of climate change and the envisioned human activities' increase in the economic sectors mentioned above. The wide range of existing legislative instruments, conventions, agreements at national and international level, provide a complex system of regulation in an area requiring special integrated overview. ACCESS is uniquely positioned to identify lacunae and to offer strategic policy options for the medium and long term future in the context of climate change and the Integrated Maritime Policy.
ECsafeSEAFOOD addresses its objectives following multi-disciplinary approaches: quantification of contaminants in seafood from different European areas and a European online consumer survey to collect baseline information. Relevant information about priority contaminants available in literature and national monitoring programmes has been gathered in an online database. Contaminants toxicology is being studied in realistic conditions with human cell lines and zebrafish embryos.