Phthalic acid esters (PAEs) are chemical pollutants widely distributed in the marine environment. They can accumulate in biota, posing a risk to the marine ecosystem and humans. The aim of this study was to measure the content of PAEs in the gills and muscles of three fish species (Mugil cephalus, Diplodus annularis, and Mullus barbatus) caught along the coast of Campania (Italy), as well as to ascertain the dietary exposure to PAEs' through the consumption of fish. Secondly, a preliminary insight into MPs pollution in this area was provided through the analysis of Mugil cephalus organs. Solid-phase extraction and GC-MS were used for the PAEs analysis, while an infrared microscope was used to detect MPs after a pre-digestion of the samples. Risk assessment was based on estimated daily intake (EDI) and lifetime cancer risk (LTCR). The results showed higher bioaccumulation of PAEs in Mullus barbatus than in the other two species and higher concentration in gills than in muscles. MPs (polyamide, polypropylene, and high-density polyethylene) were detected in 50% of the gill samples, but no particle was detected in the muscle samples of Mugil cephalus. A low carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risk from the consumption of fish emerged, although a potential risk for the development of cancer was found in the worst-case, especially in toddlers. In conclusion, this study provides insight into PAEs pollution in the Tyrrhenian Sea (Italy), their distribution in fish with different behaviors, and the potential risk to the consumer. Moreover, the data on pollution by MPs in this area could form the basis for future studies.
Scivicco, Marcello;Ariano, Andrea;Nolasco, Agata;Esposito, Francesco
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