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Food and Nutrition

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are man-made chemicals that were banned from manufacture in North America in 1977. They are very persistent and can be transported over long distances. As a result, they are found throughout the environment. Humans are still exposed to small amounts of PCBs, primarily through some of the foods that we eat. The average intake of PCBs from the Canadian diet is below that which is expected to cause adverse health effects.

What is Health Canada Doing?

Health Canada monitors the concentrations of various chemicals, including PCBs, in foods in its ongoing Total Diet Study surveys. As part of its risk assessment activities, Health Canada continues to assess the concentrations of PCBs in foods as well as any new research about the health effects of PCBs.

What Can You Do?

Since PCBs tend to accumulate in the fatty portions of animal-derived foods, you may wish to prepare foods such as meat and fish in ways that minimize your exposure to fat. Health Canada recommends that Canadians consume a variety of foods from each food group included in Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating and follow any provincial or territorial consumption advice pertaining to sport fish.

Additional Resources

PCBs in Fish