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Characteristics of selected bioaccumulative substances and their impact on fish health

Walczak, Marek, Reichert, Michał
Journal of Veterinary Research 2016 v.60 no.4 pp. 473-480
bioavailability, biodegradation, death, factories, farmed fish, fish health, gills, heavy metals, human health, pesticides, physicochemical properties, poisoning, polychlorinated biphenyls, sediments, sewage, tissues, ultraviolet radiation, water pollution
The aim of this article was to evaluate the influence and effects of chosen bioaccumulative substances i.e. heavy metals, pesticides, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on fish, as well as provide information on time trends and potential threat to human health. Chemical substances which pollute water may affect living organisms in two ways. First of all, large amounts of chemical substances may cause sudden death of a significant part of the population of farmed fish, without symptoms (i.e. during breakdown of factories or industrial sewage leaks). However, more frequently, chemical substances accumulate in tissues of living organisms affecting them chronically. Heavy metals, pesticides, and polychlorinated biphenyls are persistent substances with a long-lasting biodegradation process. In a water environment they usually accumulate in sediments, which makes them resistant to biodegradation processes induced by, e.g., the UV light. These substances enter the fish through direct consumption of contaminated water or by contact with skin and gills. Symptoms of intoxication with heavy metals, pesticides, and PCBs may vary and depend on the concentration and bioavailability of these substances, physicochemical parameters of water, and the fish itself.