Post-mortem examinations of harbour porpoises, Phocoena phocoena, regularly reveal heavy parasitic worm burdens. These same post-mortem records show varying levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) accumulating in the blubber of porpoises. Although a number of papers have documented geospatial and temporal changes of PCBs and their detrimental effects on marine mammal health, as yet none have examined their role in determining nematode burdens in wild marine mammal populations. Using a data set consisting of harbour porpoises stranded in the UK between 1989 and 2002, we found a significant, positive association between PCB levels and nematode burdens, although the nature of the relationship was confounded with porpoise sex, age and cause of death. It was also apparent that individuals with the heaviest infestations of nematodes did not have the highest PCB level: while PCBs are important, they are clearly not the sole determinants of nematode burdens in wild populations of the harbour porpoise around the UK.