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Newsletter - July 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

  • Down-river tests show more PFCs but state won't alter fish-consumption advisories. MINNESOTA -- Fish collected last fall from the Mississippi River were tested and the results show that perfluorochemical contamination is widespread south of the 3M plant in Cottage Grove. State officials concluded that no new fish consumption advisories are needed and that people should continue to follow the current advice. The agency said that they will continue to monitor the situation with more sampling of different fish species at several locations downstream from the plant.
    • Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press - May 24, 2006
  • Fish nets state advisory. COLORADO -- There is a fish consumption advisory in effect for walleye caught in Brush Hollow Reservoir in Fremont County. No one should eat more than one serving per month of walleye and children should not consume any. The state is continuing to test mercury in other fish such as perch, trout and bass and the results will be out later in the summer.
    • Source: News First Online - May 25, 2006
  • The one that got away. Cedar City, UT -- A fish consumption advisory was issued for largemouth bass caught in Gunlock Reservoir. The advisory recommends that women who are or may become pregnant or those nursing limit their consumption to a single 4-ounce serving a month. The same is recommended for children, while adults should not exceed two 8-ounce servings per month.
    • Source: Cedar City Review - May 25, 2006
  • Catch limit goes up at Diamond Lake. Roseburg, OR -- Testing by the Department of Human Resources shows elevated levels of mercury in smallmouth bass in Emigrant Reservoir. This prompted a fish consumption advisory recommending limits on all fish except for rainbow trout. The details for the Emigrant Reservoir fish advisory can be found at http://www.healthoregon.org/fishadv.
    • Source: The News-Review - May 26, 2006
  • Brantley Reservoir DDT levels prompt fish advisory. Carlsbad, NM -- On May 17, a health advisory for four species of fish in the Brantley Reservoir was expanded. The state is now mandating that no fish be eaten from the Brantley Reservoir because of elevated DDT levels. To ensure public safety they are making it illegal to keep any fish caught in the lake. This is the first time a catch-and-release regulation has been put into place for the sake of the public's health.
    • Source: The New Mexican - May 27, 2006
  • Critics: Fish warnings fail to hook those most at risk. INDIANA -- There is concern that Indiana's annual fish advisory document is not reaching the target audience. The people most affected by the advisories are the anglers, most of whom are not accessing the Internet-only document for information. Health officials are trying to come up with new, practical and more cost-effective ways to distribute the information. In previous years, they distributed hard copies of the document, but it got to be too cumbersome and expensive. Officials want to remind people that no fish should be eaten, by anyone, from the following waterbodies: Clear Creek, Elliot Ditch, Grand Calumet/Indiana Harbor Canal, Little Mississinewa River, Little Sugar Creek/Walnut Fork, Sugar Creek (from Interstate 74 to Indiana Highway 32), Pleasant Run Creek, Wea Creek, Kokomo Creek, Wildcat Creek, Salt Creek and Stoney Creek.
    • Source: IndyStar.com - June 7, 2006
  • Toxic fish warnings come in English only. CALIFORNIA -- Fish tested from Stevens Creek Reservoir have shown high levels of mercury. In a 2004 study of 10 reservoirs by the San Francisco Bay Water Quality Board, Stevens Creek had the highest levels, in some cases as high as five times the state's health standard. Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department posted signs in English, but have yet to post warnings in Spanish and Vietnamese that they said would be done by the start of the 2005 fishing season.
    • Source: MercuryNews.com - June 9, 2006
  • Rock River pulled from list of impaired waters, fish advisory changed. Rock County, WI -- Rock River was one of seven waterways removed from the state's list of impaired waters. The Department of Natural Resources has lifted the PCB Advisory, issued in 2000, for Rock River channel catfish caught between the Indianford Dam and the Illinois state line. However, the water body is still subject to the general advisory, recommending that women of childbearing age, those nursing and children under the age of 15 eat one meal of catfish per month. The remaining population is advised to eat one meal per week of catfish.
    • Source: The Janesville Gazette - June 12, 2006
  • New York state bass fishing season opens this Saturday. NEW YORK -- As bass season opens, the New York state Department of Health (DOH) would like to remind anglers about recent updates to the fish advisories. The following fish caught in the Adirondack and Catskill regions should not be eaten by women of childbearing age or by children younger than 15: northern pike, pickerel, walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and yellow perch over 10 inches in size. There are over 130 advisories posted for various waters throughout the state. More information can be found at the DOH website: http://www.nyhealth.gov/nysdoh/fish/fish.htm or by calling the DOH information line at 1-800-458-1158.
    • Source: Empire Information Services - June 14, 2006
  • Oregon fishing report. OREGON -- The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has published a new fishing report. An advisory remains in effect for Emigrant Reservoir that recommends limiting consumption of all fish caught there, except for rainbow trout. The detailed advisory is available at http://www.healthoregon.org/fishadv. Due to elevated domoic acid levels, razor clam fishing is closed from the South Jetty at Reedsport to Otter Point, on beaches, spits, jetties and estuaries. Mussels and other shellfish are still allowed for harvesting. To check for health advisories and updates, call the Oregon Department of Agriculture's Shellfish line at 1-800-448-2474.
    • Source: Corvallis Gazette-Times - June 15, 2006
  • Advisory on eating certain Vallecito Reservoir fish issued. Durango, CO -- On Tuesday, June 13, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued a fish advisory for northern pike and walleye caught at Vallecito Reservoir, near Bayfield. The advisory was prompted by elevated levels of mercury. For more information, go to http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/release/2006/061406.html.
    • Source: Farmington Daily Times - June 19, 2006
  • Michigan wants improved fish warnings. MICHIGAN -- A survey conducted from March 2005-March 2006 asked nearly 1100 anglers fishing in the Tittabawassee River, Saginaw Bay, Saginaw River and Shiawassee River about their fish consumption. The study, conducted by the Michigan Department of Community Health, found that several people were eating fish that current advisories recommend against consuming, and that few people were aware of recommendations to limit the number of servings of other fish. Overall, the health department plans on working with the community groups to raise more awareness about the fish consumption advisories.
    • Source: WILX10.com - June 19, 2006
  • Change in standards delays fish advisories. ALABAMA -- Alabama decided to adopt the more stringent EPA standards for mercury to replace their existing FDA mercury standard. The new measure is four times the measure of protective health, but in doing this, there have been laboratory location and procedural changes that have delayed the release of the annual fish consumption advisories by several months. They are due out by mid to late summer.
    • Source: The Birmingham News - June 21, 2006
  • South Carolina Web site offers info on fish advisories. SOUTH CAROLINA -- Mercury is the contaminant responsible for most of South Carolina's fish advisories, affecting 40 rivers, creeks and streams and 20 lakes. South Carolinians are encouraged to view the complete list of advisories at the Department of Health and Environmental Control's web site: http://www.scdhec.gov/fish.
    • Source: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com - June 21, 2006
  • OEHHA finalizes advisory on mercury in fish in Lake Berryessa and Putah Creek. CALIFORNIA -- The California EPA's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has modified one fish consumption advisory for Lake Berryessa and issued a new advisory for Putah Creek. Both advisories stem from elevated mercury levels in these two water bodies. The Lake Berryessa guidelines outline the following as recommendations: women of childbearing age and children 17 years old and younger can have one meal per month of largemouth, smallmouth, or spotted bass, catfish or Chinook (king) salmon. One meal a week of bluegill or other sunfish, trout or kokanee is okay for this group. For women beyond childbearing age and men, up to three meals a week of trout or kokanee is okay. One meal a week of the following is an acceptable alternative to the trout or kokanee: largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass, catfish, bluegill or other sunfish, and Chinook (king) salmon.

    According to the advisory for Putah Creek, women beyond childbearing age and men can have one meal a week of black bass, crappie or hitch. Alternatively, a daily serving of trout or Sacramento blackfish is fine, or a meal of bluegill, or other sunfish, catfish (including bullheads), sucker, carp or goldfish, or crayfish could be eaten up to three times a week. For women of childbearing age and children 17 and younger, up to three servings a week of trout or Sacramento blackfish is acceptable. One meal a week of any of the following is an acceptable alternative: black bass, bluegill or other sunfish, carp or goldfish, catfish (including bullheads), crappie, sucker, hitch, or crayfish.
    • Source: Daily Democrat - June 22, 2006

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Current Events, News and Journal Articles

  • Fires shine new light on mercury's impact. MINNESOTA -- A U.S. Forest Service fisheries research team is testing fish, water, and soils in an effort to determine the impact of forest fires on mercury levels in fish. The theory is that mercury is deposited in the forest from rain and snow. The mercury builds up over time and is then rapidly released in the event of a forest fire. The joint team of scientists from the Forest Service, the University of Minnesota, and the U.S. Geological Survey is examining possible relationships between the forest fires and elevated mercury levels in the lakes, surrounding soil, and the fish. They are collecting perch from several lakes and so far have noticed that when mercury levels in the fish are higher, they are also higher in the surrounding soil and secondly, that lake size is also important. Of the lakes they have sampled, larger lakes show lower levels of mercury while the smaller lakes show higher mercury levels.
    • Source: Duluth News - May 28, 2006
  • New warning for canned tuna. NATIONWIDE -- Consumer Reports magazine, published by the Consumers Union, is recommending that pregnant women avoid consuming canned light tuna, as well as Chilean sea bass, halibut, American lobster and Spanish mackerel because of mercury concerns. The Consumer Reports decision is based on the latest testing by the Food and Drug Administration and an investigation by the Chicago Tribune. The newspaper's reports found high levels of mercury in 15 percent of the canned light tuna they tested. The FDA found 6 percent of their 2000-2005 canned light tuna samples to be above the average levels for albacore, a fish the federal government advises pregnant women and children to limit consuming. The Consumers Union felt it was important to bring these results to the public's attention by publishing these findings in the July 2006 issue of the magazine. The FDA and the tuna industry have stood behind their conclusions that despite some high level mercury results, the overall average mercury level in canned light tuna is low and therefore no public warning is needed.
    • Source: Chicago Tribune - June 6, 2006
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Researcher's 12-year study of Great Lakes fish consumption by Native tribes holds surprises. A professor at UWM's College of Health Sciences has completed a 12-year study among 822 volunteer adult members of the Ojibwe Tribe of the northern Great Lakes region. His work examined the effects of large quantities of fish consumption. Overall, the mercury levels in the people he studied were twice the levels in people who do not eat as much fish. However, he views that mainly as an indicator that the members of the Ojibwe tribe were eating fish, not as a red flag for mercury-related health problems. On average, the mercury levels were lower than the U.S. Government limit of 1 ppm mercury in fish.
    • Source: Ascribe - June 15, 2006
  • Body burdens of mercury in lower Hudson River area anglers. Blood samples and questionnaires from 191 anglers were evaluated. Results indicated that participants who reported eating fish caught from the lower Hudson River (a federally designated Superfund site with health advisories) had significantly higher mercury concentrations in their blood samples. This study also showed that there was a positive dose-response relationship in which the blood metal concentration increases as consumption frequency increases. This study supports the theory that consumption of fish from the lower Hudson River is a human exposure pathway to mercury.
    • Source: Gobeille, K., Morland, B., Bopp, F., Godbold, H., Landrigan, J. (2006, June). Environmental Research, Volume 101(2), 205-212.
  • A screening-level assessment of lead, cadmium, and zinc in fish and crayfish from Northeastern Oklahoma. This study evaluated the human and ecological risks of metals in fish (common carp, channel catfish, flathead catfish, largemouth bass, spotted bass, and white crappie) and crayfish collected from the Spring and Neosho Rivers. Comparison of sample results and current criteria for lead, cadmium, and zinc indicated that human consumption of carp and crayfish could be restricted from elevated levels of these metals. Similarly, channel catfish consumption could be restricted due to elevated lead concentrations.
    • Source: Schmitt, S., Brumbaugh, W., Linder, G., Hinck, E. (2006, June). Environmental Geochemistry and Health, Online First.
  • Bioaccumulation of heavy metals in water, sediment, aquatic plants and tissues of Cyprinus carpio from Kizilirmak, Turkey. The objective of this study was to evaluate the applicability of Cyprinus carpio's tissue as a biomonitor of metal accumulation. Metal (Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn) concentrations were measured in fish tissues. In addition, the relationships of metal concentrations in organs to concentrations in water, aquatic plants, and sediments were compared. Results indicated that with the exception of Mn, metal concentrations were highest in the kidney. Concentrations of Pb, Mn, and Zn were found to be above the FAO/WHO limits, EU, and Turkish Food Codes proposed for fish, suggesting that the edible parts of these carp in the study region may not be safe for human consumption.
    • Source: Yilmax, F. (2006, May). Fresenius Environmental Bulletin, Volume 15(5), 360-369.
  • Heavy metal concentrations in Malapterurus electricus and Chrysichthys nigrodigitatus from Ogba River in Benin City Nigeria. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the level of pollution in the Ogba River in Benin City, Nigeria. Heavy metal concentrations in Malapterurus electricus and Chrysichthys nigrodigitatus collected from the river was analyzed and results indicated that Cu, Mn, Cr, and Ni concentrations in both fish exceeded the WHO and FEPA recommended maximum allowable standards in food fish. This study concluded that consumption of fish from the Ogba River may be a potential health hazard to humans.
    • Source: Obasohan, E., Oronsaye, J., Obano, E. (2006, May). African Journal of Biotechnology, Volume 5(10), 974-982.
  • Mercury in fish from two Nicaraguan lakes: a recommendation for increased monitoring of fish for international commerce. This study evaluated the mercury levels in water and fish from Lake Managua and Lake Apoyo. Results indicated mercury concentrations in tilapia from Lake Managua were exceeding the maximum recommended mercury levels for consumption for the at-risk group including pregnant women.
    • Source: McCrary, J., Castro, M., McKaye, K. (2006, June). Environmental Pollution, Volume 141(3), 513-518.
  • Study of dioxins, furans and polychlorinated biphenyl fractionation and HPLC using a pyrenil column for their analysis in meat and fish samples. This study evaluated an analytical method for separating PCDD/F and planar PCB families for use in European regulation of these compounds in food. In brief, the method involves adding a silica column functionalized with pyrenyl groups to a HPLC chromatograph to fractionate the different families of compounds. This method was tested by analyzing several meat and fish samples.
    • Source: Diaz, J., Grau, J., Montana, J., Marti, R. (2005, September-October). Afinidad, Volume 62(519), 433-438.
  • Assessment of edible marine species in the Adriatic Sea for contamination from polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine insecticides. PCB and organochlorine insecticide concentrations in shellfish, crustaceans, and fish were analyzed for the central Adriatic Sea, Italy. According to this study, legal limits for PCBs have not been established for the area and results indicated that concentration of PCBs in Atlantic mackerel were highest, ranging from 514 to 1,772 ng/g of fat weight.
    • Source: Perugini, M., Giammarino, A., Olivieri, V., Di Nardo, W., Amorena, M. (2006, May). Journal of Food Protection, Volume 69(5), 1144-1149.

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Meetings and Conferences

  • Eighth International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP). August 6-11, 2006, Madison, WI. For more information, visit ICGMP http://www.mercury2006.org. Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • American Fisheries Society (AFS) 136th Annual Meeting. September 10-14, 2006, Lake Placid, NY. For more information, visit AFS http://www.afslakeplacid.org/. Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • New Mexico Environmental Health (NMEHC) Conference. October 29-November 1, 2006, Albuquerque, NM. For more information, visit NMEHC http://www.nhemc.net/. Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) Annual Conference. November 5-8, 2006, Norfolk, VA. For more information, visit SEAFWA http://www.seafwa.org/schedule.htm. Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • American Public Health Association (APHA) 134th Annual Meeting. November 4-8, 2006, Boston, MA. For more information, visit APHA http://www.apha.org/meetings/. Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) North America 27th Annual Meeting. November 5-9, 2006, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. For more information, visit SETAC http://www.setac.org/montreal/. Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) 2006 Annual Meeting. December 3-6, 2006, Baltimore, MD. For more information, visit SRA http://www.sra.org/events_2006_meeting.php. Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • 2006 National Environmental Public Health (NCEH) Conference. December 4-6, 2006, Atlanta, GA. For more information, visit NCEH http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/conference/index.htm.

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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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