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Water: News

Newsletter—December 2006

Note: The following summaries are based on articles from the press and from peer-reviewed publications, and they represent the opinions of the original authors. The views of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes. Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government.


Recent Advisory News

  • Mercury rising: it's dangerous, it's here, and it's not going away. Rogerson, ID - A little over a year ago, the Idaho DEQ began testing for mercury in the Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir in an attempt to find the source of mercury that prompted fish advisories. It was speculated it was coming via rainwater from Nevada mining operations. However, the test results show the mercury is coming from within the state's watersheds. Efforts will now be focused on minimizing the impacts to various water bodies throughout the state. Mercury levels were highest in the Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir and the following consumption advice is given for that reservoir: for women who are nursing, pregnant or trying to become pregnant, do not eat more than two meals a month of walleye, perch, or smallmouth bass and no more than four meals a month of kokanee. For children younger than seven years old, do not eat more than one meal a month of walleye, perch , or smallmouth bass. Eat no more than three meals a month of kokanee and eight meals a month of rainbow trout. For the rest of the general population, do not eat more than six meals a month of walleye or bass, and no more than eight meals per month of perch.
    • Source: The Times-News - November 5, 2006
  • Toxic fish mystery. AUSTRALIA - Queensland health officials are warning people to be aware of their fish consumption of fish from the Gold Coast. High levels of mercury have been found in the fish there and the reasons are unknown. Extensive testing is underway in an effort to get to the bottom of the contamination. Pregnant women or those who may become pregnant, along with young children are being advised to limit their intake of broadbill, marlin, shark, and swordfish. This group should not consume more than 150 grams of these fish over a two week period. Children under six years of age should not consume more than 75 grams in two weeks.
    • Source: The Gold Coast Bulletin - November 6, 2006
  • State takes closer look at polluted water. Orange County, CA - PCB contamination in Orange County bays is a growing problem and the state is expanding its effort to find the sources and develop cleanup strategies. PCBs in fish are of particular concern in Anaheim Bay, Balboa Beach, and the Huntington Beach State Park. Currently, there is only one fish consumption advisory in place for the county. Corbina caught off of the Newport pier should only be eaten once every two weeks because of PCB and DDT contamination.
    • Source: The Orange County Register - November 11, 2006
  • Guidelines issued for eating fish from lower Feather River. CALIFORNIA - Elevated mercury levels in the lower Feather River from Fish Barrier Dam to the confluence with the Sacramento River have prompted a fish advisory for this 75-mile stretch of water. The guideline for women of childbearing age and children 17 years of age and younger is to avoid eating striped bass or Sacramento pikeminnow. Eat no more than one meal a month of largemouth, smallmouth, or spotted bass, or catfish. No more than one meal a week of Carp and Sacramento sucker should be eaten, and no more than two meals a week of sunfish. For women beyond childbearing age and men, one meal a month of striped bass or Sacramento pikeminnow is acceptable. This group can eat up to one meal a week of largemouth, smallmouth, or spotted bass and up to two meals a week of sunfish, carp, Sacramento sucker, or channel catfish.
    • Source: Oroville Mercury Register - November 17, 2006
  • Fish 'unsafe to eat' after metal poisoning. AUSTRALIA - Despite decreasing levels of metals in Ralphs Bay and the area north of the Tasman Bridge, officials are still recommending avoiding fish consumption in the area. Zinc, cadmium, and lead continue to be a concern. Experts say to avoid eating oysters and mussels. The quantity of metals discharged from an area smelter have sharply decreased but stormwater and sewage runoff continue to contribute metals to the bay.
    • Source: The Australian - November 22, 2006

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Current Events, News and Journal Articles

  • Mercury limits for power plants. NORTH CAROLINA - North Carolina joined a list of states that are toughening mercury emissions standards independently of the Federal government. There is increasing concern about the quantities of mercury that coal-fired power plants are releasing into the atmosphere. The mercury then accumulates in water bodies and in fish. There are several fish consumption advisories in place for North Carolina, recommending monitoring consumption of species that have elevated mercury levels.
    • Source: Centre Daily Times - November 10, 2006
  • European Parliament backs phasing out mercury. EUROPE - Legislation to phase out mercury in non-electrical measuring devices was supported in a vote by the European Parliament. The next step is approval by EU member states. The measure outlines a plan to ban all exports of mercury beginning in 2011. The EU is the world's largest exporter of the chemical. Traces of mercury have been found around the globe in almost all fish and shellfish species and continues to accumulate in streams, lakes, and fish. Mercury poses the largest threat to small children and pregnant women.
    • Source: CBC News - November 14, 2006
  • The use of the DR CALUX (R) bioassay and indicator polychlorinated biphenyls for screening of elevated levels of dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls in eel. The DR CALUX(R) bioassay was evaluated and results were compared to those derived using indicator polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Both methods were used to quantify dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in eel. This study concluded that the DR CALUX(R) assay could be used as a screening tool and the bioassay appears to be more suitable than the indicator PCBs for screening dioxins.
    • Source: Hoogenboom, R., Bovee, T., Traag, W., Woogerbrugge, R., Baumann, B., Portier, L., Van de Wege, G., de Vries, J. (2006, October). Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, Volume 50(10): 945-957.
  • Food safety hazards that occur during the production stage: challenges for fish farming and the fishing industry. This paper includes discussion of potential human health risks associated with seafood contamination. Contaminants discussed in this paper include medicinal products, residues associated with aquaculture, persistent lipophilic organic compounds, and metals (methyl-mercury, organotin). Risks associated with farmed versus captured fish are also discussed.
    • Source: Hastein, T., Hjeltnes, B., Lillehaug, A., Utne Skare, J., Berntssen, M., Lundebye, A. (2006, August). Revue Scientifique et Technique - The International Office of Epizootics, Volume 25(2): 607-625.
  • Contaminants in fish of the Hackensack Meadowlands, New Jersey: size, sex, and seasonal relationships as related to health risks. Concentration of eight constituents in muscle tissue from fish collected in Hackensack River, New Jersey were analyzed. Of the fish species collected, only white perch was statistically evaluated due to insufficient sample size for the other species. Results indicated that 2.5% of the white perch sampled exceeded the one meal per month action level and the no consumption action level of 0.47 ppm and 1 ppm, respectively. All of these perch have exceeded the USEPA cancer health guideline for PCBs.
    • Source: Weis, P., Ashley, J. (2006, November). Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, ePublication ahead of print.
  • Hydroxy-PCBs, PBDEs, and HBCDDs in serum from an elderly population of Swedish fishermen's wives and associations with bone density. 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexachlorobiphenyl (CB-153), hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyl metabolites (OH-PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDDs) levels in serum from a group of Swedish women were analyzed. Middle-aged and elderly women with relatively high exposure were included as test subjects for the analysis. This paper includes detailed human exposure data that could be useful in risk assessment analysis.
    • Source: Weiss, J., Wallin, E., Axmon, A., Jonsson, B., Akesson, H., Janak, K., Hagmar, L., Bergman, A. (2006, October). Environmental Science and Technology, Volume 40(20): 6282-6289.
  • Analysis of fish samples for environmental monitoring and food safety assessment by synchrotron radiation total reflection X-ray fluorescence. This study evaluated the potential human health risks associated with ingestion of metal contaminated fish from the Piracicaba Basin, Brazil. Metal concentrations in fish muscle and viscus (liver, intestine and stomach) were analyzed using total reflection X-ray fluorescence analysis. The authors concluded that this methodology was appropriate for use to assess the sanitary quality of fish.
    • Source: Vives, A., Moreira, S., Brienza, S., Zucchi, O., Nascimento, V. (2006, October). Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, Volume 270(1): 231-236.
  • The effect of fish consumption on blood mercury levels of pregnant women. This study analyzed blood mercury levels in women during different stages of pregnancy. The effects of prenatal education and counseling on blood mercury levels in pregnant women were also evaluated. Results indicated that mercury levels have decreased in women that were provided with the prenatal education while those who did not receive the counseling have slightly higher blood mercury levels. Mercury levels in cord blood were also found to be substantially higher than those detected in maternal blood.
    • Source: Kim, E., Kim, I., Kwon, J., Kim, S., Park, Y. (2006, October). Yonsei Medical Journal, Volume 47(5): 626-633.

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