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Water: News

Newsletter—February 2009

Recent Advisory News

Makua study finds Army not hurting environment

Honolulu, HI—According to a marine resources report released by the Army Corps of Engineers, fish, shellfish and other sea foods have not been significantly affected by the military training activities conducted at Makua Military Reservation. The results are based on sampling and analyses which compared contaminant levels in fish, shellfish and seaweed in waters located near the military activities and levels found in the more distal waters of Sandy Beach.

Source: Star Bulletin (HI); 1/15/2009

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Mercury levels higher in women in Northeast, coastal areas

Los Angeles, CA—A recent nutritional survey estimates that approximately 20% of women in the Northeast and 16% of women in coastal areas have blood mercury concentrations which exceed levels considered safe. However, the survey also indicates an overall decline in high mercury concentrations, suggesting a shift in the types of fish consumed from fish containing higher levels of mercury to fish with lower body burdens.

Source: Los Angeles Times (CA); 1/15/2009

UNLV study: Lake Mead fish safe to eat

Las Vegas, NV—Preliminary results from a University of Nevada- Las Vegas study suggest that levels of mercury in Lake Mead fish are below the EPA recommended consumption limits. The study tested four areas and four different types of fish. Only two individual samples of striped bass exceeded the recommended limit.

Source: Las Vegas Sun (NV); 1/14/2009

Advisory Issued for Fish from Summersville Lake

Charleston, WV—A mercury advisory has been issued for consumption of black bass, walleye and flathead catfish from Summersville Lake. The state has recommended no more than six meals per year of walleye and no more than one meal per month of black bass and flathead catfish.

Source: Associated Press (AP); 1/8/2009

TWRA Issues Fish Advisory Following TVA Spill

Chattanooga, TN—The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has issued no fishing, no consumption and no boating advisories in the lower Emory River until further notice due to the recent coal fly ash spill by the Kingston Steam Plant, run by the Tennessee Valley Authority. TWRA will begin sampling and analyses this week to assess the impacts of the spill. Sampling is expected to continue for at least three years.

Source: Chattanoogan (TN); 1/5/2009

Report: Mercury levels high in fish in SE Oklahoma lakes

Tulsa, Oklahoma—Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality has issued a report stating that 16 of the 35 lakes sampled in southeastern Oklahoma contained mercury levels which exceeded the level the state sets for sensitive groups to safely consume two meals per month. The state estimates that approximately three quarters of the mercury in fish stems from industrial and power-generating activities.

Source: Tulsa World (OK); 1/21/2009

Cleaner air for Northeast region

Albany, NY—EPA and eight states in the Northeast United States have reached a settlement which places stricter mercury regulations on cement plants in the region. The states argued that current standards are not adequate. In New York, where over 100 fish consumption advisories are in effect for mercury, a cement plant is estimated to emit the second highest mercury levels in the state but is not required by federal regulation to monitory mercury emissions. Under the agreement, new standards must be finalized by March 31, 2010.

Source: Albany Times Union (NY); 1/17/2009


Current Events

A comprehensive review of mercury provoked autism

Damage to certain neuronal pathways can be induced by both mercury exposure and some types of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), which may explain the similarities in neurological, immune, behavioral, sensory and motor symptoms associated with both mercury exposure and ASD. Additionally, treatments which reduce the mercury burdens in some ASD patients have resulted in improvement, suggesting that mercury exposure may be a potential cause of some ASDs.

Geier, D. A., P. G. King, et al. (2008). "A comprehensive review of mercury provoked autism." Indian J Med Res 128(4): 383-411.

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Linking the oceans to public health: current efforts and future directions

The article reviews the links between human health and the health of coastal waters and oceans. The authors suggest that although some human risks and benefits associated with declining ocean health are known, others such as chronic contaminant exposure and the resulting social and economic consequences require additional investigation. The authors also call for more quantifiable effects and an increased incorporation of social, economic, and epidemiological factors in risk and benefits analyses associated with oceanic and human health.

Kite-Powell, H. L., L. E. Fleming, et al. (2008). "Linking the oceans to public health: current efforts and future directions." Environ Health 7 Suppl 2: S6.

The clinical content of preconception care: environmental exposures

The study investigates the most common environmental factors of adverse reproductive and developmental outcomes. The authors present a list of several key determinants, such as mercury exposure through fish consumption, which may influence the outcome of pregnancies. The study suggests that uncovering a woman's environmental exposure history before conception may allow a medical professional to make recommendations to optimize the outcome of future pregnancies.

McDiarmid, M. A., P. M. Gardiner, et al. (2008). "The clinical content of preconception care: environmental exposures." Am J Obstet Gynecol 199(6 Suppl 2): S357-61.

Comparative analysis of state fish consumption advisories targeting sensitive populations

State fish consumption advisories across the United States were evaluated on the clarity and complexity of the advisory. The authors suggest that risks, benefits and targeted populations should be highlighted to increase the effectiveness of the advisories, especially in fish consumption advisories which addressed multiple contaminants.

Scherer, A. C., A. Tsuchiya, et al. (2008). "Comparative analysis of state fish consumption advisories targeting sensitive populations." Environ Health Perspect 116(12): 1598-606.

Levels of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, dibenzofurans, and biphenyls in southern Mississippi catfish and estimation of potential health risks

The results of this study indicate that although dioxins and dioxin-like compounds (PCBs and furans) were higher in wild catfish than in farm-raised catfish, both types of samples had relatively low levels of estimated cancer risks. Additionally, the study suggests that the concentration of dioxins, PCBs and furans in catfish may be decreasing.

Scott, L. L., D. F. Staskal, et al. (2008). "Levels of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, dibenzofurans, and biphenyls in southern Mississippi catfish and estimation of potential health risks." Chemosphere Dec 23. [Epub ahead of print].

Impact of phytochemical-rich foods on bioaccessibility of mercury from fish

This study evaluated the bioaccessibility of mercury from fish tissue in the presence of foods with high levels of phytochemicals during digestion. Results suggest that consumption of these foods, such as green tea, black tea, soy protein, oat bran and psyllium may reduce the bioaccessibility of mercury.

Shim, S.-M., M. G. Ferruzzi, et al. (2009). "Impact of phytochemical-rich foods on bioaccessibility of mercury from fish." Food Chemistry 112(1): 46-50.

Hormone disruption by PBDEs in adult male sport fish consumers

The results of this study suggest that increased body burdens of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are positively associated with increases in two types of hormones, thyroglobulin antibodies and thyroxine, a thyroid hormone. Increases in hormones were not found to be associated with sport fish consumption.

Turyk, M. E., V. W. Persky, et al. (2008). "Hormone disruption by PBDEs in adult male sport fish consumers." Environ Health Perspect 116(12): 1635-41.

Perfluorinated compounds in whole fish homogenates from the Ohio, Missouri, and Upper Mississippi Rivers, USA

The authors present a method for analyzing perflourinated compounds (PFCs) and review the findings from whole fish homogenate samples collected in the Ohio, Missouri, and upper Mississippi Rivers. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) was the most prevalent PFC in all of the fish samples suggesting that PFOS presence in the waters is extensive. PFOS was also positively associated with trophic level.

Ye, X., M. J. Strynar, et al. (2008). "Perfluorinated compounds in whole fish homogenates from the Ohio, Missouri, and Upper Mississippi Rivers, USA." Environmental Pollution 156(3): 1227-1232.

A possible approach for setting a mercury risk-based action level based on tribal fish ingestion rates

This study reviews various fish consumption surveys and other studies to understand the decrease in fish consumption in Columbia Basin tribes. The results suggest that the current mercury action level in the region requests that tribes choose between traditional fish consumption levels, which play a religious, cultural and heritage role, and community health. The authors suggest that the mercury action level should be lowered to help preserve tribal traditions.

Harper B.L., Harris S.G. "A possible approach for setting a mercury risk-based action level based on tribal fish ingestion rates." Environ Research 2008 May;107(1):60-8.

Robust microwave-assisted extraction protocol for determination of total mercury and methylmercury in fish tissues

The authors present a mercury analysis method which uses microwaves to help extract mercury from fish tissue. Comparisons with other techniques suggest that the method is accurate and represents a viable method for extracting and determining total mercury and methylmercury concentrations in fish.

Reyes, L. H., G. M. Rahman, et al. (2009). "Robust microwave-assisted extraction protocol for determination of total mercury and methylmercury in fish tissues." Anal Chim Acta 631(2): 121-8.


Meetings and Conferences

Energy & Environment Conference: Clean Air, Mercury, Global Warming & Renewable Energy

February 1–4, 2009, Phoenix, Arizona. For more information, please visit:

http://www.euec.com/html/home.htm Exit EPA Disclaimer

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2009 AAAS Annual Meeting

February 12–16, 2009, Chicago, Illinois. For more information, please visit:

http://www.aaas.org/meetings/ Exit EPA Disclaimer

48th Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology (SOT)

March 15–19, 2009, Baltimore, Maryland. For more information, please visit:

http://www.toxicology.org/ai/meet/am2009/ Exit EPA Disclaimer

11th Annual Workshop on Brominated Flame Retardants

May 19–20, 2009, Ottawa, Ontario. For more information, please visit:

http://www.ec.gc.ca/scitech/default.asp?lang=En&n=6D0D0FE3-1 Exit EPA Disclaimer

NEHA's 73rd Annual Educational Conference (AEC) & Exhibition

June 21–24, 2009, Atlanta, Georgia. For more information, please visit:

http://www.neha.org/AEC/2009/index.html Exit EPA Disclaimer

2009 National Forum on Contaminants in Fish

October 2009, Portland, Oregon.


For More Information

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

 


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