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Newsletter—December 2010

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Recent Advisory News

California Fish and Game issues advisory against eating parts of Southern California lobster, rock crab

High levels of domoic acid, the neurotoxin that causes amnesic shellfish poisoning, have been found in the internal organs of spiny lobster and in rock crabs from the northern Channel Islands in California. The California Department of Fish and Game has issued a warning to the public that only the tail meat of the lobsters should be eaten until further notice.

Link to full article: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/outposts/2010/10/fish-and-game-advisory-dont-eat-spiny-lobster-rock-crab-toxins.html

Source: Los Angeles Times (CA), 10/29/2010

Study finds high levels of mercury in fish taken from Indiana rivers

A study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and Indiana Department of Environmental Management from 2001 to 2006 found that one in eight fish sampled from Indiana waters contained dangerous levels of mercury.

Source: The Amplifier Online (KY), 9/7/2010

8,000 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico reopened to fishing

On September 21, 2010 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reopened 7,970 square miles of Gulf waters along the southern boundary of the area previously closed to commercial and recreational fishing. The area closed to all fishing as of September 21st measures 31,915 square miles and covers about 13% of the Gulf of Mexico exclusive economic zone (down from the peak closure in June of almost 37%). This most recent reopening was announced after consultation with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and under a re-opening protocol agreed to by NOAA, the FDA, and the Gulf states. Between July 31 and August 10, NOAA sampled the area for pelagic finfish, including tuna and billfish. Sensory analyses of 93 samples found no detectable oil or dispersant odors or flavors, and chemical analyses of 92 samples in 18 composites found that levels were well below those that would cause concern. NOAA will continue to take samples for testing from the newly re-opened area. The agency will also continue dockside sampling to test fish caught throughout the Gulf by commercial fishermen.

Link to full article: http://www.wfie.com/Global/story.asp?S=13522580

Source: WFIE.com. 11/17/2010

Fish advisory issued for Lake Worth concludes more fish are edible

The Texas Department of State Health Services issued an advisory for certain species of fish from Lake Worth, due to contamination by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and by the insecticides aldrin and dieldrin. The new advisory replaces a 2000 advisory that warned against consuming all species of fish from the lake. The new advisory lists only blue catfish, channel catfish and smallmouth buffalo.

Link to full article: http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/11/15/2632866/fish-advisory-issued-for-lake.html#tvg

Source: Welch, Chance. Fort Worth Star Telegram (TX), 11/15/2010

Fish oil might help fight gum disease

New research suggests that eating moderate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent gum disease. Study participants who ate moderate or high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids were almost a third less likely to have gum disease than participants who consumed lower amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

Link to full article: http://news.health.com/2010/10/26/fish-oil-might-help-fight-gum-disease

Source: Health.com, 10/26/2010

Fish oil may fight breast cancer

A large survey of 35,000 postmenopausal women, first surveyed in 2000-2002, recently found that fish oil may guard against breast cancer. By the end of 2007, women who reported taking fish oil at the start of the study were about half as likely to have developed the most common form of breast cancer.

Link to full article: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/61005/title/Fish_oil_may_fight_breast_cancer

Source: Seppa, Nathan. ScienceNews.com, 7/31/2010

Fish advisory in Ohio likely in effect until 2011

Grand Lake St. Marys in Ohio will likely remain under a fish consumption advisory until 2011, according to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The advisory will be lifted when data show that toxins from a blue-green algae outbreak over the summer are not building up in fish.

Link to full article: http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/ohio-news/fish-advisory-in-ohio-likely-in-effect-until-2011-984296.html

Source: Dayton Daily News (OH), 10/23/2010

Mountain Creek Lake fish OK to keep but not to eat, Texas health officials say

A fish possession ban for fish caught in Mountain Creek Lake in Texas has been lifted. However, PCB and dioxin levels in the fish are still too high for safe consumption, and an advisory is in place warning the public not to eat fish from the lake.

Link to full article: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/DN-badfish_02met.ART.State.Edition1.3328421.html

Source: DallasNews.com (TX), 10/2/2010


Recent Publications

Please note: The following abstracts are reprinted verbatim unless otherwise noted.

History of mercury use and environmental contamination at the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant

Between 1950 and 1963 approximately 11 million kilograms of mercury (Hg) were used at the Oak Ridge Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12 NSC) for lithium isotope separation processes. About 3% of the Hg was lost to the air, soil and rock under facilities, and East Fork Poplar Creek (EFPC) which originates in the plant site. Smaller amounts of Hg were used at other Oak Ridge facilities with similar results. Although the primary Hg discharges from Y-12 NSC stopped in 1963, small amounts of Hg continue to be released into the creek from point sources and diffuse contaminated soil and groundwater sources within Y-12 NSC. Mercury concentration in EFPC has decreased 85% from approximately 2000ng/L in the 1980s. In general, methylmercury concentrations in water and in fish have not declined in response to improvements in water quality and exhibit trends of increasing concentration in some cases.

Source: Brooks, S. C. and G. R. Southworth (2011). "History of mercury use and environmental contamination at the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant." Environ Pollut 159(1): 219-228.

Cultural influences on safety and health education among Vietnamese fishermen

Every ethnic group has its own cultural background and history that influences how it views health behaviors. By virtue of their work history, many Vietnamese have pursued the fishing industry when migrating to the United States. Even though the fishing trades are among the most dangerous jobs in the world, there has been little attention in the literature to the significant role that culture plays in the expression and experience of occupational health practices among Vietnamese shrimp fishermen. Three focus group sessions were conducted to identify factors that hinder or facilitate receptivity to available training and to guide culturally appropriate content. Participants were recruited using purposive sampling among various Vietnamese shrimp fishermen communities in Texas. Utilizing a series of open-ended questions, sessions were conducted in their native language among owners/captains/deckhands; support infrastructure--adult family members and religious/community leaders; and industry management and insurance representatives. Translations of transcribed documents were compared with simultaneous translations to ensure thematic consistency. Conducting hands-on training among Vietnamese by experienced fishermen, specifically targeting captains, was considered key to safety culture on the vessels. Findings of the study support that training should occur in a variety of formats (hands-on), but should be periodic, current, practical, convenient, taught in the primary language of the audience by an experienced individual, culminate in a certificate of completion, and target captains first. These findings illustrate the importance of considering cultural factors in the design of workplace interventions that focus on changes in safety and occupational health behaviors.

Source: Carruth, A. K., J. L. Levin, et al. (2010). "Cultural influences on safety and health education among Vietnamese fishermen." J Agromedicine 15(4): 375-385.

Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and women's mental health in the perinatal period and beyond

Recent research has shown that depression and a range of physical illnesses, including heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes, have an inflammatory etiology. The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3s) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are found in fish and fish-oil products, may protect against these illnesses, in part because they lower inflammation. This article reviews the recent research on omega-3s and women's mental health, with a particular focus on the perinatal period. These studies include population studies examining fish consumption and studies testing the efficacy of EPA and DHA as treatments for depression. Although the findings are mixed, the majority of studies indicate that EPA has efficacy in treating depression either alone or in combination with DHA and/or antidepressant medications. The role of DHA alone in mental health is less clear, but it is generally combined with EPA and appears to have a beneficial effect. In moderate doses, EPA and DHA appear safe for pregnant and postpartum women, and they are well tolerated by patients.

Source: Kendall-Tackett, K. (2010). "Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and women's mental health in the perinatal period and beyond." J Midwifery Womens Health 55(6): 561-567.

Fish consumption and mercury exposure among Louisiana recreational anglers

Methylmercury (MeHg) exposure assessments among average fish consumers in the U.S. may underestimate exposures among U.S. subpopulations with high intakes of regionally specific fish. We examined relationships between fish consumption, estimated mercury (Hg) intake, and measured Hg exposure among one such potentially highly-exposed group, recreational anglers in Louisiana USA. We surveyed 534 anglers in 2006 using interviews at boat launches and fishing tournaments combined with an internet-based survey method. Hair samples from 402 of these anglers were collected and analyzed for total Hg. Questionnaires provided information on species-specific fish consumption over 3 months prior to the survey. Results: Anglers' median hair-Hg concentration was 0.81 microg/g (n=398; range: 0.02-10.7 microg/g), with 40% of participants above 1 microg/g, the level that approximately corresponds to the U.S. EPA's reference dose. Fish consumption and Hg intake were significantly positively associated with hair-Hg. Participants reported consuming nearly 80 different fish types, many of which are specific to the region. Unlike the general U.S. population, which acquires most of its Hg from commercial seafood sources, approximately 64% of participants' fish meals and 74% of their estimated Hg intake came from recreationally caught seafood. Study participants had relatively elevated hair-Hg concentrations and reported consumption of a wide variety of fish, particularly locally caught fish. This group represents a highly-exposed subpopulation with an exposure profile that differs from fish consumers in other regions of the U.S., suggesting a need for more regionally-specific exposure estimates and public health advisories.

Source: Lincoln, R. A., J. P. Shine, et al. (2010). "Fish Consumption and Mercury Exposure among Louisiana Recreational Anglers." Environ Health Perspect 2010 Oct 27. [Epub ahead of print].

Varying coefficient function models to explore interactions between maternal nutritional status and prenatal methylmercury toxicity in the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study

Maternal consumption of fish during the gestational period exposes the fetus to both nutrients, especially the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs), believed to be beneficial for fetal brain development, as well as to the neurotoxicant methylmercury (MeHg). We recently reported that nutrients present in fish may modify MeHg neurotoxicity. Understanding the apparent interaction of MeHg exposure and nutrients present in fish is complicated by the limitations of modeling methods. In this study we fit varying coefficient function models to data from the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study (SCDNS) cohort to assess the association of dietary nutrients and children's development. This cohort of mother-child pairs in the Republic of Seychelles had fish consumption averaging 9 meals per week. Maternal nutritional status was assessed for five different nutritional components known to be present in fish (n-3 LCPUFA, n-6 LCPUFA, iron status, iodine status, and choline) and associated with children's neurological development. We also included prenatal MeHg exposure (measured in maternal hair). We examined two child neurodevelopmental outcomes (Bayley Scales Infant Development-II (BSID-II) Mental Developmental Index (MDI) and Psychomotor Developmental Index (PDI)), each administered at 9 and at 30 months. The varying coefficient models allow the possible interactions between each nutritional component and MeHg to be modeled as a smoothly varying function of MeHg as an effect modifier. Iron, iodine, choline, and n-6 LCPUFA had little or no observable modulation at different MeHg exposures. In contrast the n-3 LCPUFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) had beneficial effects on the BSID-II PDI that were reduced or absent at higher MeHg exposures. This study presents a useful modeling method that can be brought to bear on questions involving interactions between covariates, and illustrates the continuing importance of viewing fish consumption during pregnancy as a case of multiple exposures to nutrients and to MeHg. The results encourage more emphasis on a holistic view of the risks and benefits of fish consumption as it relates to infant development.

Source: Lynch, M. L., L. S. Huang, et al. (2010). "Varying coefficient function models to explore interactions between maternal nutritional status and prenatal methylmercury toxicity in the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study." Environ Res 2010 Oct 18. [Epub ahead of print].

Effects of supplemental fish oil on resting metabolic rate, body composition, and salivary cortisol in healthy adults

To determine the effects of supplemental fish oil (FO) on resting metabolic rate (RMR), body composition, and cortisol production in healthy adults. A total of 44 men and women (34 +/- 13y, mean+SD) participated in the study. All testing was performed first thing in the morning following an overnight fast. Baseline measurements of RMR were measured using indirect calorimetry using a facemask, and body composition was measured using air displacement plethysmography. Saliva was collected via passive drool and analyzed for cortisol concentration using ELISA. Following baseline testing, subjects were randomly assigned in a double blind manner to one of two groups: 4 g/d of Safflower Oil (SO); or 4 g/d of FO supplying 1,600 mg/d eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 800 mg/d docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). All tests were repeated following 6 wk of treatment. Pre to post differences were analyzed using a treatment X time repeated measures ANOVA, and correlations were analyzed using Pearson's r. Compared to the SO group, there was a significant increase in fat free mass following treatment with FO (FO = +0.5 +/- 0.5 kg, SO = -0.1 +/- 1.2 kg, p = 0.03), a significant reduction in fat mass (FO = -0.5 +/- 1.3 kg, SO = +0.2 +/- 1.2 kg, p = 0.04), and a tendency for a decrease in body fat percentage (FO = -0.4 +/- 1.3% body fat, SO = +0. 3 +/- 1.5% body fat, p = 0.08). No significant differences were observed for body mass (FO = 0.0 +/- 0.9 kg, SO = +0.2 +/- 0.8 kg), RMR (FO = +17 +/- 260 kcal, SO = -62 +/- 184 kcal) or respiratory exchange ratio (FO = -0.02 +/- 0.09, SO = +0.02 +/- 0.05). There was a tendency for salivary cortisol to decrease in the FO group (FO = -0.064 +/- 0.142 mug/dL, SO = +0.016 +/- 0.272 mug/dL, p = 0.11). There was a significant correlation in the FO group between change in cortisol and change in fat free mass (r = -0.504, p = 0.02) and fat mass (r = 0.661, p = 0.001). 6 wk of supplementation with FO significantly increased lean mass and decreased fat mass. These changes were significantly correlated with a reduction in salivary cortisol following FO treatment.

Source: Noreen, E. E., M. J. Sass, et al. (2010). "Effects of supplemental fish oil on resting metabolic rate, body composition, and salivary cortisol in healthy adults." J Int Soc Sports Nutr 7: 31.

Arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury in canned sardines commercially available in eastern Kentucky, USA

Seventeen samples of canned sardines, originating from six countries and sold in eastern Kentucky, USA, were analyzed in composites of 3-4 fish each for total arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS) and for mercury (Hg) by thermal decomposition amalgamation and AAS. Results in mug/g wet: As 0.49-1.87 (mean: 1.06), Cd<0.01-0.07 (0.03), Pb<0.06-0.27 (0.11), Hg ND<0.09. Values fall generally within readings reported by others, but no internationally agreed upon guidelines have yet been set for As or Cd in canned or fresh fish. The incidence of cancers and cardiovascular diseases associated with As ingestion is extraordinarily high here. With the role of food-borne As in human illness presently under scrutiny and its maximum allowable limits in fish being reviewed, more studies of this nature are recommended, especially considering the potential importance of small pelagic fishes as future seafood of choice.

Source: Shiber, J. G. (2010). "Arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury in canned sardines commercially available in eastern Kentucky, USA." Mar Pollut Bull 2010 Oct 8. [Epub ahead of print].

Maternal omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and risk for perinatal maternal depression

A systematic review was conducted to assess the possible association between omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) supplementation and intake in the perinatal period and the risk of maternal perinatal depressionTwo PubMed searches and a BIOSIS Preview, a Web of Science and a PsychInfo search were conducted with the search terms 'DHA, pregnancy and depression' and 'omega-3 fatty acids, pregnancy and depression'. Ten articles - three longitudinal cohort studies, five randomized controlled trials and two pilot trials- that met selection criteria were reviewed. Six found no association, two found mixed results, and two found a positive association between omega-3 PUFAs and reduced incidence of maternal perinatal depression. The heterogeneity of results can be explained by dissimilar study designs, including differences in study duration, time period of measurement and number of participants, and in varied dosages and types of supplemental PUFAs. Some of the larger studies and those that found a positive effect were more likely to be using higher doses, close to 2 g of docosahexaeonic acid (DHA)+ eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and began the supplementation earlier in pregnancy. Future RCTs to investigate the role of PUFA supplementation and risk for maternal perinatal depression should begin supplementation early in pregnancy and use a dosage closer to 2 g of DHA + EPA. Depression should also be measured using a diagnostic interview schedule in addition to a screener.

Source: Wojcicki, J. M. and M. B. Heyman (2010). "Maternal omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and risk for perinatal maternal depression." J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2010 Oct 7. [Epub ahead of print].


Meetings and Conferences

December
Society for Risk Analysis
December 5–8, 2010 Salt Lake City, UT
http://www.sra.org/events_2010_meeting.php Exit EPA Disclaimer

 

Upcoming
Society of Toxicology 50th Anniversary Meeting
March 6–10, 2011 Washington DC
http://www.toxicology.org/AI/MEET/AM2011/Exit EPA Disclaimer
10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant
July 24–29, 2011 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
http://www.mercury2011.org/ Exit EPA Disclaimer

For More Information

Please email the newsletter (Fish_Advisory@epa.gov) if you would like to announce an upcoming meeting, conference, or to submit an article.


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