This study reports on the concentrations of eight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in food samples collected in the city of Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain) from 2003 to 2004. Food samples included meat products, fish (fresh and smoked), other seafood (cephalopods, crustaceans, and bivalves), vegetable oil, and tea. Concentrations of benz[a]anthracene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, benzo[k]fluoranthene, benzo[g,h,i]perylene, benzo[α]pyrene, benzo[e]pyrene, dibenz[a,h]anthracene, and indeno[1,2,3-c,d]pyrene were determined by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection. PAHs were detected in most tea samples (94%), which had the highest concentration of total PAHs (mean concentration of 59 μg/kg). Other food groups with a high presence of PAHs were bivalves (present in 34% of the samples; mean value of 2.7 μg/kg) and meat products (present in 13% of the samples; mean value of 1.7 μg/kg). The PAHs detected most frequently were benzo[e]pyrene and benzo[b]fluoranthene. No sample had levels above current regulation standards. Nevertheless, the frequent presence of PAHs in bivalves, tea samples, and meat products, together with the fact that dietary sources are the main exposure to these carcinogenic compounds, suggests the need for some monitoring scheme to follow up on these trends.

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