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Water: News

Newsletter—June 2011

 Kayak fishing at Okmulgee Lake, Oklahoma by Thomas & Dianne Jones [ CC-BY-2.0 ( www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0 ) ], via Wikimedia Commons

Kayak fishing at Okmulgee Lake, Oklahoma by Thomas & Dianne Jones [ CC-BY-2.0 ( www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0 ) ], via Wikimedia Commons

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Recent Advisory News

New website offers advice on Oklahoma fish consumption

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has launched a new fish advisory website called “Hook, Line and Supper.” The website includes a map and other information relevant to fish consumption advisories in Oklahoma, as well as a “Kiddie Corner” with activities for children. Currently there are 16 waterbodies in Oklahoma with mercury advisories. In addition, the Tar Creek area has an advisory for lead, and Bitter Creek has had an advisory based on elevated levels of the pesticides DDT and toxaphene. The “Hook, Line and Supper” website can be found at http://www.deq.state.ok.us/fish.

Link to original article: http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=11&articleid=20110519_11_A12_CUTLIN391554

Source: Tulsa World (OK), 5/19/2011.

Ogeechee River (Georgia) cleared for swimming, but not yet for fishing

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) lifted a swimming advisory for the Ogeechee River after tests conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicated no unsafe levels of contaminants in the water following a fish kill in late May 2011. Tests of water samples were positive for copper, sodium and formaldehyde, but each contaminant was present in levels low enough to comply with drinking water standards. The EPD announced that the fish died of Columnaris, a bacterial disease caused by environmental stress. The cause of the stress is not known, but residents are still advised not to eat fish from the river, pending results of fish tissue analyses which should be available in June 2011.

Link to original article: http://savannahnow.com/news/2011-05-27/ogeechee-cleared-swimming-not-yet-fishing

Source: Savannah Morning News (GA), 5/27/2011.

More fish to be tested at Lake Wylie in North Carolina

In North Carolina, the Mecklenburg County Land Use & Environmental Service Agency plans to partner with North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the most extensive round of fish testing on local lakes to date. Samples of 4 species (crappie, white perch, and blue and channel catfish) will be collected from Lake Norman, Mountain Island Lake, and upper Lake Wylie. Investigators will look for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), mercury, arsenic and selenium in the four species. South Carolina recently issued an advisory for largemouth bass from lower Lake Wylie, and North Carolina has already issued advisories against eating any channel catfish from Mountain Island Lake, the nearest upstream neighbor to Lake Wylie.

Link to original article: http://www.heraldonline.com/2011/04/06/2968168/more-fish-to-be-tested-at-lake.html

Source: The Herald Online (SC), 4/6/2011.

Superfund Sites in Georgia May Contaminate Fish, EPA Issues Warning

The EPA has found PCBs contaminating at least 25 acres around the Armstrong World Industries property near Macon, Georgia. Three old landfills on the property are being proposed for designation on Superfund’s National Priority List. After initial investigations, the EPA is issuing a big warning to residents. “I think the biggest concern right now, is just to make sure people don't eat fish from Rocky Creek," says Sherryl Carbonaro with the EPA. The EPA will decide whether to officially place the landfills on the Superfund list in September.

Link to original article: http://www.41nbc.com/news/local-news/3710-superfund-sites-contaminate-fish-epa-issues-warning

Source: 41NBC.com (GA), 4/26/2011.

Michigan Urges Residents to Use Fish Advisory Guide

The Michigan Department of Community Health is advising residents that it's important to read the fish advisory guide and choose wisely when eating locally caught fish. The Michigan Fish Advisory booklet is available at http://www.michigan.gov/eatsafefish or by calling the Michigan Department of Community Health - Division of Environmental Health at (800) 648-6942.

Link to original article: http://www.upnorthlive.com/news/story.aspx?list=~%5Chome%5Clists%5Csearch&id=607057

Source: UpNorthLive.com, 4/18/2011.

Fish-Eaters Show Lower Risk of Preterm Birth

A study reported in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that among pregnant women at high risk of preterm birth, those who eat fish a few times a week may be less likely to deliver early. The researchers say they are still not sure if the fish itself helps prevent preterm delivery, or if there is something else about people who eat fish that explains the connection. In general, the researchers found that women who ate two or three servings of fish per week were about 40 percent less likely to deliver early than women who ate fish less than monthly. There was no evidence, however, that a higher fish intake was related to any further cuts in preterm-birth risk. The researchers say their findings support current guidelines for women to eat up to two servings of low-mercury fish per week.

Link to original article: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/04/25/fish-eaters-lower-risk-preterm-birth/#ixzz1Nx7hcaGx

Source: Reuters, 4/25/2011.

Recent Publications

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

Bioaccumulation of microcystins by fish associated with a persistent cyanobacterial bloom in Lago de Patzcuaro (Michoacan, Mexico)

Lago de Patzcuaro is a historically important freshwater fishery in Mexico. The lake is presently characterized by a persistent bloom of cyanobacteria, specifically dominated by recognized producers of toxic microcystins (MCYSTs). We evaluated MCYSTs in sestonic and dissolved fractions of the water column, as well as representative fish species (silversides, Chirostoma spp.; Goodea sp.; and carp, Cyprinus carpio) obtained from local markets and small commercial catches during the bloom. Samples were evaluated primarily by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and secondarily by protein phosphatase (PPase) inhibition assay and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Sestonic MCYST concentration (0.02-0.36 microg/L) generally correlated inversely with distance from the bloom, supporting the bloom as the source of the toxin. Several MCYST variants, including MC-LR, -LA and -LY, as well as didemethyl variants, were identified by LC-MS/MS analysis. All three species of fish bioaccumulated MCYSTs in relevant tissues, and toxin content correlated with trophic level, with highest and lowest levels measured in phytoplanktivorous and zooplanktivorous representatives, respectively. Detection of MCYST in silversides and Goodea sp. is particularly relevant because both are consumed in their entirety, including viscera (e.g., liver) known to primarily accumulate MCYST. These results indicate that Lago de Patzcuaro is indeed characterized by a toxigenic bloom, and that commercially important fish species from the lake accumulate toxic MCYST in tissues relevant to human consumption. As such, this system may represent an ideal model of the trophic transfer of MCYSTs and its relevance to human and environmental health.

Source: Berry, J. P., E. Lee, et al. (2011). "Bioaccumulation of microcystins by fish associated with a persistent cyanobacterial bloom in Lago de Patzcuaro (Michoacan, Mexico)." Environ Toxicol Chem 2011 Apr 14. doi: 10.1002/etc.548. [Epub ahead of print].

Health concerns of consuming cockles (Cerastoderma edule L.) from a low contaminated coastal system

Commercial and recreational harvesting of shellfish within the coastal systems is usually very extensive. Since these ecosystems are frequently subjected to contamination, namely from agricultural, urban and industrial activities, and shellfish generally display a high capacity to bioaccumulate metals, populations may be at risk in terms of toxic metal exposure as a consequence of the harvesting and ingestion of near shore coastal marine organisms. Shellfish is regularly tested for concentrations of metals and other contaminants by legal authorities for commercial purposes, but although health officials use total metal as standards of food safety, only a part of the metal accumulated in shellfish is available to be assimilated and to cause toxic effect. In order to elucidate these issues an investigation on cockles inhabiting the Aveiro estuary was conducted. Element levels in sediments and wild Cerastoderma edule from sampling areas with different levels of contamination were measured; total element burden of cockles was related to accessible fraction for assimilation (TAM); element concentrations in wild C. edule were compared to EFSA (European Food Safe Authorities), USFDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) and FSANZ (Food Standards Australia and New Zealand) maximum levels (MLs); and the amount of cockle flesh needed to be consumed to exceed provisional tolerable weekly intake (PTWI) was determined. The present work showed that although sediment metal and metalloid contamination in Aveiro estuary is low the concentration of elements in C. edule does not reflect the contamination of the sediment. Aluminium (Al) and mercury (Hg) were the less and nickel (Ni), lead (Pb), zinc (Zn) and cadmium (Cd) were the most bioaccumulated metals by cockles. Comparison of MLs from international organisations with the concentration of elements in C. edule showed that arsenic (As) and Pb exceeded standard levels. The ingestion of less than 1kg for As and 1.5kg for Pb of cockles would result in exceeding the PTWI threshold (0.015 and 0.025mgkg(-1)week(-1) respectively) in any of the areas considered in the study. Cd and Al also appear to be limiting elements for human consumption. Indeed, consumption of more than 3.1kg and 2.1kg of whole cockle soft part from one of the study areas during a single week would lead to exceedance of the recommended PTWI value for Cd (0.007mgkg(-1)week(-1)) and Al (7mgkg(-1)week(-1)) respectively. The health concerns to humans from cockle consumption from Aveiro estuary are discussed.

Source: Figueira, E., A. Lima, et al. (2011). "Health concerns of consuming cockles (Cerastoderma edule L.) from a low contaminated coastal system." Environ Int 37(5): 965-972.

Levels of persistent organic pollutant and their predictors among young adults

Exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs), such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane (p,p'-DDE), and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) continues to be of concern due to their ubiquitous distribution and high persistence. Current toxicant body burden is still a primary concern within the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation since other studies conducted within the community have shown relationships between these POPs and endocrine disruption. In this article we describe the levels of these toxicants in young adults of the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation between the ages of 17 and 21years of age (mean age 18.1years), and investigate potential influences of their current body burden. Seventeen congeners in fourteen chromatographic peaks were detected in 50% or more of the individuals sampled (geometric mean [GM] of the sum of these congeners=0.43ppb). Congeners 118, 138[+163+164] and 153 had the highest rate of detection (98%) within the Akwesasne young adults. Of the other organochlorines, HCB (GM=0.04ppb) and p,p'-DDE (GM=0.38ppb) were found in 100% and 99% of the sample respectively. Significantly higher levels of PCBs were found among individuals who were breastfed as infants, were first born, or had consumed local fish within the past year. When compared to levels of p,p'-DDE, HCB, and 13 specific congeners reported by the CDC for youth between the ages of 12 and 19years, the geometric means of several congeners (CBs 99, 105, 110, and 118) among the Akwesasne were higher than the reported CDC 90th percentile. In contrast, levels of CB 28 in Akwesasne young adults were approximately 50% or less than those of the CDC cohort. p,p'-DDE and HCB levels were generally higher in the CDC cohort (GM of 0.516 and 0.065ppb, respectively for Mohawks vs. 2.51 and 0.123, respectively, for CDC). Concentrations of non-persistent PCBs among this sample of Akwesasne young adults were higher than those reported by the CDC suggesting continued exposure, but lower than those associated with severe contamination. Additional research into the concentration trends of individual PCB congeners within Akwesasne youth and young adults is warranted to further improve our insight into the determinants and influences of organochlorine concentrations within members of the Akwesasne community.

Source: Gallo, M. V., L. M. Schell, et al. (2011). "Levels of persistent organic pollutant and their predictors among young adults." Chemosphere 83(10): 1374-1382.

Sources and fate of chiral organochlorine pesticides in western U.S. National Park ecosystems

The enantiomer fractions (EFs) of alpha-hexachlorocyclohexane (alpha-HCH), cis-, trans-, and oxychlordane, and heptachlor epoxide were measured in 73 snow, fish, and sediment samples collected from remote lake catchments, over a wide range of latitudes, in seven western U.S. National Parks/Preserves to investigate their sources, fate, accumulation and biotransformation in these ecosystems. The present study is novel because these lakes had no inflow or outflow, and the measurement of chiral organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) EFs in snowpack from these lake catchments provided a better understanding of the OCP sources in the western United States, whereas their measurement in fish and sediment provided a better understanding of their biotic transformations within the lake catchments. Nonracemic alpha-HCH was measured in seasonal snowpack collected from continental U.S. National Parks, and racemic alpha-HCH was measured in seasonal snowpack collected from the Alaskan parks, suggesting the influence of regional sources to the continental U.S. parks and long-range sources to the Alaskan parks. The alpha-HCH EFs measured in trout collected from the lake catchments were similar to the alpha-HCH EFs measured in seasonal snowpack collected from the same lake catchments, suggesting that these fish did not biotransform alpha-HCH enantioselectively. Racemic cis-chlordane was measured in seasonal snowpack and sediment collected from Sequoia, indicating that it had not undergone significant enantioselective biotransformation in urban soils since its use as a termiticide in the surrounding urban areas. However, nonracemic cis-chlordane was measured in seasonal snowpack and sediments from the Rocky Mountains, suggesting that cis-chlordane does undergo enantioselective biotransformation in agricultural soils. The trout from these lakes showed preferential biotransformation of the (+)-enantiomer of cis-chlordane and the (-)-enantiomer of trans-chlordane.

Source: Genualdi, S. A., K. J. Hageman, et al. (2011). "Sources and fate of chiral organochlorine pesticides in western U.S. National Park ecosystems." Environ Toxicol Chem 2011 Apr 1. doi: 10.1002/etc.538. [Epub ahead of print].

Aqueous photolysis of the organic ultraviolet filter chemical octyl methoxycinnamate

Organic UV filter chemicals are the active ingredients in personal care products designed to protect the skin from UV radiation, and hundreds of tons are estimated to be produced annually. Despite their entrance into the aquatic environment by both direct and indirect routes and their detection in surface waters and fish, little is known about their environmental fate. UV filter chemicals are designed to be photostable, but some undergo transformation upon exposure to UV light. Octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC), a commonly used UV filter chemical, degrades rapidly by direct photolysis; previous studies have focused on its photoisomerization, and a few investigators have reported the formation of cyclodimers. Here, we present the kinetics and quantum efficiency of the direct photolysis of OMC and confirm that dimerization occurs as a result of direct photolysis in aqueous solution. Likely identities of the dimers are offered based on comparison to reported results for other cinnamate derivatives. We have identified additional products of direct photolysis that have not been previously reported and investigated their photostability, as well as the mechanism of product formation. There is also some evidence of indirect photolysis in the presence of dissolved natural organic matter.

Source: Macmanus-Spencer, L. A., M. L. Tse, et al. (2011). "Aqueous photolysis of the organic ultraviolet filter chemical octyl methoxycinnamate." Environ Sci Technol 45(9): 3931-3937.

Risk assessment for the daily intake of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from the ingestion of cockle (Anadara granosa) and exposure to contaminated water and sediments along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia

The concentration of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (c-PAHs) present in the sediment and water of Peninsular Malaysia as well as in the cockle Anadara granosa was investigated. Samples were extracted and analysed with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The concentrations of total carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (t-PAHs) were measured between 0.80 +/- 0.04 to 162.96 +/- 14.74 ng/g wet weight (ww) in sediment, between 21.85 +/- 2.18 to 76.2 +/- 10.82 ng/L in water samples and between 3.34 +/- 0.77 to 46.85 +/- 5.50 ng/g ww in the cockle tissue. The risk assessment of probable human carcinogens in the Group B2 PAHs was calculated and assessed in accordance with the standards of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). Case I in the toxicity assessment analysed the cancer risk to consumers of Malaysian blood cockle. Case II assessed the risk of cancer from exposure to PAHs from multiple pathways. The average cancer risk of case I and case II were found to be classifiable as unsafe according to the US EPA standard. The cancer risk due to c-PAHs acquired by the ingestion of blood cockle was (8.82 +/- 0.54) x 10-6 to (2.67 +/- 0.06) x 10(-2), higher than the US EPA risk management criterion. The non-cancer risks associated with multiple pathways in Kuala Gula, Kuala Juru and Kuala Perlis were higher than the U.S. EPA safe level, but the non-cancer risk for eating blood cockle was below the level of U.S. EPA concern.

Source: Mirsadeghi, S. A., M. P. Zakari, et al. (2011). "Risk assessment for the daily intake of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from the ingestion of cockle (Anadara granosa) and exposure to contaminated water and sediments along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia." J Environ Sci (China) 23(2): 336-345.

Persistent organic pollutants in blood plasma of satellite-tracked adult male loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta)

Risks from persistent organic pollutants (POPs) remain largely a mystery for threatened loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta). The present study examines regional-scale POP differences in blood plasma from adult male C. caretta based on movement patterns. Turtles were captured near Port Canaveral, Florida, USA, in April of 2006 and 2007 and fitted with satellite transmitters as part of a National Marine Fisheries Service-funded project. Residents (n = 9) remained near the capture site, whereas transients (n = 10) migrated northward, becoming established in areas largely from south of Pamlico Sound, North Carolina, to north of Cape May, New Jersey, USA. Blood was sampled from the dorsocervical sinus of each turtle and analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry for organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and toxaphenes. Blood plasma concentrations of OCPs and total PBDEs were elevated in transients (p < 0.05) and in some cases were correlated with turtle size. Migratory adults showed an atypical PBDE congener profile relative to other published studies on wildlife, with PBDE 154 being the dominant congener. Additionally, PCB congener patterns differed between groups, with total PCBs slightly elevated in transients. This supports the idea that foraging location can influence exposure to, and patterns of, POPs in highly mobile species such as C. caretta. Understanding patterns of contamination informs wildlife managers about possible health risks to certain subpopulations. The present study is the first to examine POPs in the rarely studied adult male sea turtle and to couple contaminant measurements with satellite tracking.

Source: Ragland, J. M., M. D. Arendt, et al. (2011). "Persistent organic pollutants in blood plasma of satellite-tracked adult male loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta)." Environ Toxicol Chem 2011 Apr 20. doi: 10.1002/etc.540. [Epub ahead of print].

Trophic Magnification of PCBs and Its Relationship to the Octanol-Water Partition Coefficient

We investigated polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) bioaccumulation relative to octanol-water partition coefficient (K(OW)) and organism trophic position (TP) at the Lake Hartwell Superfund site (South Carolina). We measured PCBs (127 congeners) and stable isotopes (delta(15)N) in sediment, organic matter, phytoplankton, zooplankton, macroinvertebrates, and fish. TP, as calculated from delta(15)N, was significantly, positively related to PCB concentrations, and food web trophic magnification factors (TMFs) ranged from 1.5-6.6 among congeners. TMFs of individual congeners increased strongly with log K(OW), as did the predictive power (r(2)) of individual TP-PCB regression models used to calculate TMFs. We developed log K(OW)-TMF models for eight food webs with vastly different environments (freshwater, marine, arctic, temperate) and species composition (cold- vs warmblooded consumers). The effect of K(OW) on congener TMFs varied strongly across food webs (model slopes 0.0-15.0) because the range of TMFs among studies was also highly variable. We standardized TMFs within studies to mean = 0, standard deviation (SD) = 1 to normalize for scale differences and found a remarkably consistent K(OW) effect on TMFs (no difference in model slopes among food webs). Our findings underscore the importance of hydrophobicity (as characterized by K(OW)) in regulating bioaccumulation of recalcitrant compounds in aquatic systems, and demonstrate that relationships between chemical K(OW) and bioaccumulation from field studies are more generalized than previously recognized.

Source: Walters, D. M., M. A. Mills, et al. (2011). "Trophic Magnification of PCBs and Its Relationship to the Octanol-Water Partition Coefficient." Environ Sci Technol 45(9): 3917-3924.

The following recent publications are also of interest, but the abstracts are not reprinted here due to copyright restrictions:

Mercury, cadmium, lead and arsenic levels in three pelagic fish species from the Atlantic Ocean: intra- and inter-specific variability and human health risks for consumption.
Burger J, Gochfeld M. Sci Total Environ. 2011 Mar 15;409(8):1418-29. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

Seafood intake and urine concentrations of total arsenic, dimethylarsinate and arsenobetaine in the US population.
Vieira, C. C., S. S. Morais, et al. (2011). Food and chemical toxicology 49(4): 923-932.

Awareness and knowledge of methylmercury in fish in the United States.
Lando AM, Zhang Y. Environ Res. 2011 Apr;111(3):442-50. Epub 2011 Jan 22.

Fish consumption and mercury exposure among Louisiana recreational anglers.
Lincoln RA, Shine JP, Chesney EJ, Vorhees DJ, Grandjean P, Senn DB 2011. Environ Health Perspect 119:245-251. doi:10.1289/ehp.1002609.

Mercury exposure and risk of cardiovascular disease in two U.S. cohorts.
Mozaffarian D, Shi P, Morris JS, Spiegelman D, Grandjean P, Siscovick DS, Willett WC, Rimm EB.N Engl J Med. 2011 Mar 24;364(12):1116-25.

Meetings and Conferences

12th Workshop on Brominated and other Flame Retardants (BFR 2011)
June 6-7, 2011 Boston, Massachusetts
http://www.bfr2011.org 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
American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting
September 4-8, 2011 Seattle, Washington
http://www.fisheries.org/afs2011 Exit EPA Disclaimer
14th World Lake Conference
October 31-November 4, 2011 Austin, Texas
http://www.wlc14.org/Exit EPA Disclaimer
The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) North America 32nd Annual Meeting
November 13-17 2011, Boston, Massachusetts
http://boston.setac.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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