Mercury levels and trends in fish and mussels from German surface waters - comparison with the EQS as specified in Directive 2008/105/EC

2010, Reports

Wellmitz, Jörg
Umweltbundesamt, 2010


Directive 2008/105/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 (EQS Directive) requires compliance with an environmental quality standard of 20 μg/kg wet weight for mercury and mercury compounds in biota. At the same time, the most appropriate indicator must be selected among fish, molluscs and crustaceans. This threshold value serves the protection of higher organisms (mammals and raptors) against poisoning via the food chain (secondary poisoning).

In this report, present mercury concentrations in biota from German inland waters are discussed in detail. Whereas the EQS for biota is extensively and noticeably exceeded in fish, food threshold values for mercury in fish are generally adhered to, though even here limits are exceeded in isolated cases. Recourse is made to analysis findings of the German Environmental Specimen Bank (Umweltprobenbank des Bundes (UPB)) as a statistical basis. On the basis of such analyses recommendations are made for further action.

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