Institut de veille sanitaire 12, rue du Val-d’Osne 94415 Saint-Maurice France, Cellule interrégionale d’épidémiologie Nord-Pas-de-Calais / Picardie 62, boulevard de Belfort BP 605 59024 Lille cedex France
The chemical contamination of freshwater fish at concentrations above standard thresholds is an on-going problem. Measurement campaigns are regularly conducted to estimate the contamination of fish to help improve estimates of consumer exposure. In France, however, no guidelines exist to underlie such studies. A literature review helped to identify the key elements to orient sampling choices: species, sampling points, sampling techniques, and analytical methods. As a case study, a protocol was designed to estimate dioxins, furans and PCB contamination of different fish in the Somme River. Several stakeholders were involved in the process. This example demonstrated the value of a systematic, transparent protocol that involves working together with the different stakeholders and addressing all the key issues to improve the quality of the data collected for the purpose of exposure assessment.