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Newsletter - May 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

  • N.J. broadens fish advisories. Cherry Hill, NJ -- A statewide study indicated that PCB levels have decreased significantly since the mid-1980s. New Jersey state officials noted that PCBs are likely to be found in bay fish due to accumulation as a result of the fish foraging in the lower river. State officials have broadened the fish consumption advisories for the Delaware River and Bay. The state has added a consumption advisory to weakfish that recommends eating one meal from the bay per month. In addition, the state has revised the recommendations for blue fish to one meal per year of fish over 14 inches in length or one meal per month for fish under that length. The state continues to recommend eating no finfish caught in waters from the Pennsylvania-Delaware state line to the C&D Canal near Wilmington. The state has extended restrictions for American eel, channel catfish, white catfish and white perch caught in river waters north of this area to Trenton in which high-risk groups should refrain from eating these types of fish. Others limit consumption to four meals a year.
    • Source: Cherry Hill Courier Post - April 1, 2006
  • N.J. tightens warnings on tidal fish, shellfish. NEW JERSEY -- A Department of Environmental Protection-commissioned study by the Academy of Natural Sciences identified higher levels of PCBs and dioxins in the watershed than previously observed. As a result, state officials have updated their fish consumption guidelines in the Newark Bay watershed, which includes the Hackensack River and its tributaries. For American eel and white perch, the guidelines have been changed from limited consumption to no consumption at all. For striped bass caught in the Newark Bay, the consumption guideline has relaxed from one meal to four meals a year for the general population. High-risk individuals including pregnant women, women planning to become pregnant, nursing mothers, infants and children are recommended to refrain from eating striped bass entirely. The state has continued its recommendation of eating no blue crabs taken from the Passaic River/Newark Bay area due to elevated dioxin levels. A new advisory was added to winter flounder caught in downstream areas of the Hudson River to limit consumption to one meal per month. The state also recommended consumption of white perch caught in the Raritan Bay and the Raritan River to be limited to once a year. The new advisory recommended the general population to limit consumption of striped bass and weakfish to once per month while no consumption is recommended for high-risk individuals.
    • Source: NewJersey.com - April 1, 2006
  • Mercury advisory remains in effect. Lexington, KY -- The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources issued a list of fish consumption advisories in the 2006 Sport Fishing and Boating Guide due to mercury contamination. The advisories include a listing of waters that are affected along with the recommended frequency of meals for each species. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources recommended no consumption of fish eggs, fish juices, or fats that cook out of fish. In addition, the officials recommended avoiding eating larger and older fish, such as trophy-sized largemouth bass, muskies, striped bass and flathead catfish. The advisory also recommended broiling, baking, or grilling skinless fish fillets instead of frying or microwaving.
    • Source: Lexington Herald Leader - April 1, 2006
  • Pregnant women told to avoid Illinois fish, Peoria physician warns of mercury contamination. Peoria, IL -- The medical director for OSFHealthCareT Center for Occupational Health and section head for preventive and occupational medicine at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, stated that pregnant women should not eat Illinois fish due to potential mercury contamination. The physician also stated that women of child-bearing age should limit their fish consumption to once a week. According to the Illinois Public Interest Research Group, the average mercury concentration in sport fish in Illinois is 20 percent above the U.S. EPA's safe limit for women of average weight who eat fish twice a week. A recent study conducted by the Sierra Club tested the mercury concentration in the hair of two dozen volunteers consisting of both adults and children. Results indicated that none of the test subjects contain mercury levels in their hair that exceeded the limit. A representative of the Sierra Club stated that the study was not statistically significant due to the small sample size. The representative further added that one in four people in the state of Illinois have mercury levels above the safety criterion.
    • Source: Peoria Journal Star - April 12, 2006
  • New guidelines set for South River catfish. Annapolis, MD -- The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has issued new consumption advisory guidelines for catfish from the South River due to PCBs. The new guidelines recommended that children six years and younger eat fewer than eight meals per month of South River brown bullhead catfish. No consumption limit was set for adults. The guidelines also included consumption recommendations for eels from the river in which women of child-bearing age and young children should not eat more than two meals per month and general adults should limit their consumption to three meals per month. MDE included statewide guidelines for eating rockfish and recommended consumption limits for various fish species from the Patuxent, Magothy, West/Rhode and Patapsco rivers. The Maryland Secretary of the Environment suggested that one should avoid eating a sick or diseased fish despite the source of the fish and that all fish should be cleaned properly and cooked thoroughly prior to serving.
    • Source: Annapolis Capital - April 10, 2006
  • Risky fishing: power plant mercury pollution and Illinois sport fish. Chicago, IL -- Illinois Public Research Group (IPRG) released a new report including data from two studies (the Illinois Fish Contaminant Monitoring Program and the U.S. EPA's National Lake Fish Tissue Study) on mercury concentrations in popular sport fish tissues from various locations in Illinois. IPRG evaluated tissue mercury concentrations from 827 fish samples and concluded the following:
    • The mean mercury concentration in fish samples (0.16 parts per million [ppm]) was higher than the U.S. EPA's safe limit for women of average weight who eat fish twice per week (0.13 ppm).
    • Thirty-nine percent of the fish samples analyzed were above the EPA mercury limit for women of average weight who eat fish twice per week.
    • The three highest detected mercury concentrations (1.4 ppm, 1.07 ppm, and 0.94 ppm) were observed in largemouth bass from Sherman Park Lagoon in South Chicago, Kinkaid Lake, in Jackson County, and Cedar Lake, respectively.
    • Fifty-nine, 50, and 34 percent of the fish samples exceeded the mercury limit for children of average weight under age three, from ages three to five years and from ages six to eight years who eat fish twice a week, respectively.
    • All samples in Boone, Dekalb, Edwards, Effingham, Kane, Pope, Pulaski, and Schuyler counties exceeded the EPA mercury limit for women and almost half of the 77 counties studied exceeded this limit.
    • Fish tissue mercury concentration in half of the 32 fish species analyzed exceeded the EPA limit for women. In descending order of average mercury concentration in fish tissue, these species were: bigmouth buffalo, freshwater drum, striped bass, lake trout, spotted bass, sauger, smallmouth buffalo, spotted sucker, flathead catfish, largemouth bass, brown trout, Chinook salmon, white bass, channel catfish, carp, and white sucker.
    • Sixty-six of the 145 waterbodies studied exceeded the EPA mercury limit for women. The top ten waterbodies with the highest average mercury concentration in fish tissue, in descending order of concentration were Lusk Creek in Pope County, Monee Reservoir in Will County, Devil's Kitchen Lake in Williamson County, an unnamed lake in Tazewell County, Piscasaw Creek in Boom County, McKinley Park Lagoon in Cook County, Steven A. Forbes Lake in Marion County, Big Muddy Creek in Clay County, Kinkaid Lake in Jackson County, and Cedar Lake in Jackson County.
    • Source: Illinois Public Research Group - April 11, 2006
  • Outdoor notebook. NORTH CAROLINA -- The North Carolina Department of Public Health has issued a fish consumption advisory with recommendations for largemouth bass, Spanish mackerel, cobia, and amberjack due to possible mercury contamination. Other species of concern include almaco jack, banded rudderfish, canned white tuna (albacore tuna), Crevalle jack, greater amberjack, South Atlantic group (gag, scamp, red and snowy), king mackerel, ladyfish, little tunny, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish, and tuna (fresh or frozen). Women of childbearing age, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children under 15 are advised not to eat any fish with elevated mercury concentration while all adults are recommended to eat only one serving per week.
    • Source: Winston-Salem Journal - April 16, 2006
  • Pennsylvanians are encouraged to follow healthy trout fishing and eating guidelines, Pennsylvania trout season begins: Pennsylvanians reminded how to safely eat what you catch. Harrisburg, PA -- The departments of Health, Environmental Protection, and Agriculture, along with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, recommended pregnant, breast-feeding women, women of childbearing age, and children to limit consumption of sport-caught fish to one meal per week. Less frequent or no consumption recommendations are also included in some cases for specific species or locations. Specific recommendations can be found at the Department websites.
    • Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health - April 12, 2006
  • No more mercury. Baltimore, MD -- The MaryPIRG Foundation released a report, "Mercury Pollution in Maryland: A Comprehensive Look at Contamination in Local Waterways", which evaluated mercury levels in fish tissue from various locations within the state of Maryland. Two thousand fish samples were evaluated and results indicated that 59 percent of these samples exceeded the state agencies safe limit for mercury. The report concluded that approximately 10 percent of the fish tested, including striped bass, contained mercury concentrations of 300 parts per billion or greater.
    • Source: MaryPIRG - April 13, 2006
  • State tags 22 species as unsafe. NORTH CAROLINA -- Due to mercury contamination, the North Carolina Division of Public Health department has recently added 15 fish species to the consumption advisory, making a total of 22 species all together. Health officials recommended the general public to limit consumption of the following fish species to only once a week: tuna, swordfish, orange roughy, shark and wild-caught catfish. No consumption of these species is recommended to women of childbearing age, pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under 15. In addition, the state officials have included blackfish and largemouth bass throughout the state, and catfish, jack fish and warmouth from waterways south and east of Interstate 85 on the consumption advisory.
    • Source: News & Observer - April 22, 2006

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Current Events, News and Journal Articles

  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in marine organisms from four harbors in Guam. The isolation of Guam has largely protected marine resources from the adverse effects of global pollution. The US military has been prominent on the island since WWII. Their bases and other developments have greatly increased problems associated with waste disposal, pollution and environmental management. As a result, coastal waters around much of the island have become degraded in recent years. Information is critical if the ecological, recreational and commercial potential of nearshore areas is to be maintained.

    This paper reports on the PCB status of various marine organisms taken from four harbors located along the western edge of the southern half of the island. Species selected for study were dominant ecosystem representatives and included organisms from various trophic levels. Special attention was given to those with bioindicator potential as well as those frequently harvested for human consumption. The vast majority of samples were collected from the largest and oldest port in Guam, Apra Harbor. The analytical procedures were adapted from the US EPA SW 846 methods for the physical and chemical evaluation of solid waste, in addition to those recommended by the NOAA National Status and Trends program.

    Results indicated that PCBs in sea cucumbers were tissue-dependent. The indigenous people of the western Pacific commonly eat the body wall muscle tissue; hence, the PCB data in sea cucumbers (low concentrations, all <20 ng/g, or ppb) are of interest from a public health standpoint. The unusually high PCB concentration (1279 ng/g) noted in the hemal system, from a lightly contaminated site at Merizo Pier, is significant and suggests these organisms may have bioindicator potential. PCB concentrations in crustaceans and mollusks from uncontaminated waters usually fall within the range 1- 10 ng/g . Group representatives examined generally fell within this range for most PCBs, with exceptions noted only among those from the contaminated Dry Dock Island site in Apra Harbor (ranging between 30 and 50 ng/g).

    While PCB concentrations in all fish analyzed were well below the US Food and Drug Administration tolerance level of 2 µg/g (ppm) (ATSDR, 2000), levels in the great majority (83%) were above the more recent US EPA cancer risk (1:100,000) guideline of no more than 1.5 ng/g in fish consumed on an unrestricted basis (US EPA, 2000). The livers of 20 fish were analyzed during the present investigation. In all cases, PCBs greatly exceeded those found in axial muscle. The higher lipid content of liver tissue greatly enhances its capacity to act as a reservoir for refractory, lipophilic compounds like PCBs. Concentrations exceeding 10,000 ng/g were found in two fish from Apra Harbor. Use of fish liver as an indicator tissue for PCBs appears to have merit. Overall, the study indicates moderate PCB contamination in biotic components from Apra Harbor. For sessile species, concentrations generally mirrored distribution patterns noted earlier in sediments. A similar relationship with sediments was noted for biotic representatives collected from the other harbor sites, all of which were relatively clean by world standards. The improper historical disposal and spillage of waste oils and other materials containing PCBs have had a major impact on coastal waters around parts of the island.
    • Source: Denton, G., Concepcion, L., Wood, H., & Morrison, R. (2006, February). Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 52(2), 214-226.
  • Salmon fish farms pollute wild fish. CANADA -- A recent Canadian study published April 19 on Environmental Science & Technology Research ASAP website (DOI: 10.1021/es0520161) indicated that wild fish caught downstream from salmon fish farms contains elevated levels of mercury in fish tissues. This study suggested that the feed leftover and feces discharged from salmon pens attract species of predators such as rockfish, therefore increasing accumulation of mercury in wild fish. Previous studies indicated that PCBs concentration in farm-raised salmon could be seven times higher than that found in wild salmon fish. Some researchers found that salmon fish farms could potentially increase PCBs concentration in wild fish tissues. This study concluded that contaminant levels in wild fish may not necessarily be cleaner than farmed fish and suggested consumers to check the local state agencies' fish consumption advisory for site- and species-specific information on wild caught fish.
    • Source: Food Consumer - April 21, 2006
  • Health tests offered as fishermen of Sydney Harbor fear dioxin poison. Sydney, AUSTRALIA -- Commercial fishing in the Sydney Harbor was banned in January after elevated levels of dioxin were detected in bream and prawns caught from the Harbor. Several Australian fishermen are considering legal action against the New South Wales state government regarding their exposure to elevated levels of dioxins and the associated health risks due to possible, insufficient warning from the government. The state health department is now offering free blood tests to commercial fishermen to assess the levels of exposure to dioxin. In addition, the health officials are now recommending the general public to consume no more than a 150g serving of fish and two 150 g servings of prawn caught from the Harbor per month. These consumption advisories are based on a 70 kg adult and lighter adults and children are recommended to consume less than the advisory amount depending on their body weight. An earlier report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation indicated that the dioxin level in a 74 year old commercial fisherman was ten times the Australian average concentration.
    • Source: Scotsman - April 24, 2006
  • Mercury in fish scales as an assessment method for predicting muscle tissue mercury concentrations in largemouth bass. The relationship between total mercury (Hg) concentration in fish scales and in tissues of largemouth bass (M. salmoides) from 20 freshwater sites was developed and evaluated to determine whether scale analysis would allow a nonlethal and convenient method for predicting Hg concentrations in tissues. The relationship between total Hg concentration in untreated scale samples and muscle tissue is highly variable. Several different scale treatments were tried to enhance the effectiveness of this predictive technique. Washing scales with acetone, deionized water, detergent solution, and soap were used in conjunction with ultrasonication. The use of a mild soap solution with heating and ultrasonication increased the correlation to the greatest degree relative to untreated scales. Despite treatment, wide variation in the predictions of tissue Hg concentration from fish scale assessment remained. These results suggest that application of this technique as an independent method for issuance of fish advisories is inappropriate. Nevertheless, results indicated that scale analysis has potential for assessing general trends in concentration relative to a tissue criterion and for assessing Hg contamination in fish tissue as a first-level screen.
    • Source: Lake, J., Ryba, S., Serbst, J., & Libby, A. (2006, May). Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, Volume 50(4), 539-544.
  • Heavy metal profile in five fish species included in human diet, domiciled in the end flow of River Neretva. CROATIA -- Concentration of three heavy metals (mercury (Hg), lead, (Pb), and cadmium, (Cd)) and one metalloid (arsenic [As]), were determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometry in five tissues (muscles, liver, kidneys, gills, and gonads) of five fish species (carp, tench, sval, gray mullet, and eel) taken out from the last 20 km of the river Neretva, in south Croatia, during the summer of the year 2003. Only Cd concentration in all fish types was higher than the maximal allowed concentration (MAC) in Croatia, but its concentration in muscle tissues reaches this value only in four samples. However, in carp, tench, and mullet, Cd concentrations higher than the MAC were found in some other countries. Hg concentration is much lower than the MAC in most countries. Pb is found in higher quantities only in carp, reaching the MAC in Germany. Many Pb values are higher than the MAC in Denmark (with the exception of gonad tissues). Arsenic concentrations are much lower than MAC in all countries. Mullet tends to accumulate As, especially in the muscle tissues. In several samples, muscle As concentration in mullet reached half of the MAC value of most countries. Of the analyzed fish types, eel contained the smallest quantities of heavy metals, and is recommended for human diet. While carp, consumed most frequently by local inhabitants and tourists, shares with mullet the recommendation for the least consumption out of these species. Fish meals should not contain inner organs (e.g. kidneys and liver), gills, or the whole head. Fish muscle tissue contains less heavy metals than the internal organs, and is therefore more suitable for the human diet.
    • Source: Has-Schon, E., Bogut, I., & Strelec, I. (2006, May). Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, Volume 50(4), 545-551.
  • Heavy metal contaminants and processing effects on the composition, storage stability and fatty acid profiles of five common commercially available fish species in Oron Local Government. NIGERIA -- Five commercially available common fish species: catfish, tilapia, ilisha, bonga, and mudskipper in Oron Local Government Area were evaluated for their content of heavy metals and the effects of salting on nutrient contents, oxidative stability and fatty acid profiles of smoke-dried fish cakes. Concentrations of heavy metals in edible muscle, liver and gill tissues were determined while the oxidative rancidities in unsalted and salted smoke-dried fish cakes, packed in low-density polyethylene (LDPE) bags and stored at 30 degrees C were assessed using peroxide value (POV), thiobarbituric acid (TBA) value, free fatty acid (FFA) contents and sensory evaluation techniques. Generally, the concentrations for Cu, Zn and Pb in muscle, gills and liver of test samples were low. Similarly, insignificant concentrations (< 0.01 mg/kg) of Hg, As, Cr and Cd were obtained in the fish tissues. Salting caused minimal reductions in the nutrient contents of the dried fish cakes. The POV, TBA, FFA and taste panel scores were highest during the first week of storage and declined thereafter. Salted smoke-dried samples had higher POV, TBA and FFA values than unsalted samples. Panel preference ratings for flavor/aroma and desirability characteristics of the fish cakes were in descending order: catfish > tilapia > bonga > ilisha > mudskipper. Palmitic acid (C16:0) was the predominant saturated fatty acid in the test samples.
    • Source: Eboh, L., Mepba, H., & Ekpo, M. (2006, August). Food Chemistry, Volume 97(3), 490-497.
  • Quantitation of toxic arsenic species and arsenobetaine in pacific oysters using an off-line process with hydride generation-atomic absorption spectroscopy. An off-line process-based speciation technique was devised to quantitatively determine toxic inorganic arsenic (iAs), methylarsonic acid (MA), dimethylarsinic acid (DMA), and the dominant, albeit virtually nontoxic, arsenobetaine (AB) in Pacific oysters (C. gigas). Oysters were extracted with fresh methanol-water (8+2). This was replicated three times. The extracts were evaporated to near dryness and subsequently redissolved in pure water. Defatting was performed with a C18 cartridge. The trace hydride active arsenic species, (iAs, MA, and DMA) in the defatted solutions were determined with a sensitive hydride generation-packed coldfinger trap-atomic absorption spectrometric (HG-PCFT-AAS) coupled system. The arsenicals which were desorbed from the cation-exchange resin (Dowex 50W-X8) in the washings of 4 M NH3 were categorized on the basis of AB + DMA. The total quantity of arsenic in the recovered AB + DMA was determined with a commercial hydride generation-atomic absorption spectrometric (HG-AAS) system. Finally, AB was calculated from (AB + DMA)-DMA. The average concentrations of iAs, MA, DMA, AB, and total arsenic (TAs) in the oysters collected from six aquacultural sites along the west coast of Taiwan were, respectively, 0.15, 0.06, 0.64, 6.93, and 13.74 mg kg(-1) of dry weight. AB was the major species. iAs (arsenite + arsenate) were the most toxic species, although the iAs made up 1% of the TAs in the oysters. The lifetime target cancer risk, as determined by the concentration of iAs on a fresh weight basis in the oysters, was well below the ordinary health protection criteria {10(-6)}.
    • Source: Hsiung, T., & Huang, C. (2006, April). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Volume 54(7), 2470-2478.
  • Determination of total and inorganic mercury in fish samples with on-line oxidation coupled to atomic fluorescence spectrometry. An atomic fluorescence spectrometry system for determination of total and inorganic mercury with electromagnetic induction-assisted heating on-line oxidation was developed. Potassium peroxodisulfate was used as the oxidizing agent to decompose organomercury compounds. Depending on the temperature selected, inorganic or total mercury could be determined with the same manifold. Under optimal conditions, the detection limits were evaluated to be 2.9 ng/L (pptr) for inorganic mercury and 2.6 ng/L for total mercury, respectively, which are very low, in comparison to many methods currently in use today. The proposed method was successfully applied to determine total and inorganic mercury in fish samples.
    • Source: Shao, L., Gan, W., & Su, Q. (2006, March). Analytica Chimica Acta, Volume 562(1), 128-133.
  • Microscale analytical methods for the quantitative detection of PCBs and PAHs in small tissue masses. Microscale methods (MM) were evaluated and compared to traditional methods (TM) for measuring PCBs and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in spiked and standard reference fish and mussel tissues. MMs are advantageous because they use small tissue masses (ca. 100 mg), and maintain sensitivity through reducing final extract volume (traditionally 1 ml) by an order of magnitude or more. Procedural losses occurred in the MMs' combined cleanup/primary evaporation step, and the final extract concentration. The PAH MM performed comparably to the TM. Although most PCBs had recoveries > 50%, the PCB MM generally yielded lower recoveries than the TM. Average method detection limits were 0.6 µg/kg (TM) and 1.0 µg/kg (MM) for PCBs and 25.7 µg/kg (TM) and 27.7 µg/kg (MM) for PAHs. MMs described for PCB and PAH tissue samples are potentially viable alternatives to TMs, and could lead to cost savings in bioaccumulation/toxicity tests.
    • Source: Jones, R., Millward, R., Karn, R., & Harrison, A. (2006, March). Chemosphere, Volume 62(11), 1795-1805.
  • Dioxin concentration in human milk in Hebei province in China and Tokyo, Japan: Potential dietary risk factors and determination of possible sources. Very limited information is available on body burdens and environmental levels of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs (dl-PCBs) in mainland China. In this study, human milk samples were collected from 30 breastfeeding mothers in Shijiazhuang city (industrialized) and 11 in the Tanshan countryside (agricultural) of Hebei Province in northern China. An additional 20 samples were obtained from mothers in Tokyo, Japan. PCDDs, PCDFs, and dl-PCBs in human milk were analyzed by high-resolution gas chromatography/high-resolution mass spectrometry. Study results show that arithmetic means for body burdens of PCDDs/Fs and dl-PCBs in Hebei were 3.6 and 1.9 pg TEQ/g fat, respectively. These levels were about one fourth of the levels observed in Japan. No difference was found in the chemical levels, except dl-PCBs, between the urban and rural areas. Based on the results of an in-person interview of the Chinese mothers using a 59-item questionnaire, freshwater fish consumption was found to correlate with the body burden of dioxins. Principal component analysis of dioxin congeners revealed that the patterns of dioxins in the Hebei urban and rural areas are quite similar; however, they are clearly different from those in Japan. Collectively, study results suggest that the lower body burdens of dioxin in Hebei may be due in part to the relatively slow industrialization and a lower consumption of marine foods. These results indicate that comprehensive monitoring of dioxins and dl-PCBs in humans, as well as in the environment and foods, is necessary in China.
    • Source: Sun, S., Zhao, J., Liu, H., Liu, D., Ma, Y., Li, L., Horiguchi, H., Uno, H., Lida, T., Koga, M., Kiyonari, Y., Nakamura, M., Sasaki, S., Fukatu, H., Clark, G., & Kayama, F. (2006, March). Chemosphere, Volume 62(11), 1879-1888.
  • Endocrine disrupters and female reproductive health. Studies of the impact of estrogenic contaminants in the environment have shown that male fish in detergent-contaminated water express female characteristics, turtles are sex-reversed by PCBs, male frogs exposed to a common herbicide form multiple ovaries, pseudohermaphroditic offspring are produced by polar bears, and seals in contaminated water have an excess of uterine fibroids. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (those found in the external environment that can mimic or inhibit endogenous hormones) mostly exhibit estrogenic effects, but a few are anti-estrogenic or anti-androgenic. Many of these compounds are industrial contaminants, such as pesticides and plasticizers. Others are natural phytoestrogens found in plants, such as soy and in herbal supplements. Recent research shows that human development can also be feminized by exposure to estrogenic chemicals. Estrogen is the key hormone in the initiation (puberty) and the end (menopause) of reproductive life in women and of considerable importance in women's health. The same chemicals that affect wildlife may affect breast growth and lactation, and could have a role in uterine diseases such as fibroids and endometriosis. New studies provide a mechanism of action for estrogenic chemicals and other endocrine disrupters at the molecular level (called epigenetics) that may help explain the long-term effects of endocrine disruption.
    • Source: McLachlan, J., Simpson, E., & Martin, M. (2006, March). Best Practice & Research: Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 20(1), 63-75.
  • An approach to feeding high-percentage fish diets to mice for human and wildlife toxicology studies. Experimental feeding of sport fish to rodents has been an important tool for the study of biological effects induced by a contaminated fish diet. Most rodent feeding studies have used low-to-moderate levels of tissue from large fish species incorporated into diets fed to rats and have rarely considered issues of diet palatability or nutrition. There are currently no rodent diet models suitable for assessing the risk to human populations of diets very high in daily fish content. In this study, mice were fed high percentages (up to 50%) of homogenized, whole fish using Atlantic herring (C. harengus) through a novel gel diet medium for mice that contains a variety of nutritional supplements and is flexible in terms of the fish percentage that can be incorporated. In choice trials, mice preferred 30 and 35% fish gels to their regular commercial dry chow, indicating that the gel diet medium was palatable. In a longer feeding trial, mice ate 35% fish gel for 12 days and 50% fish gel for 12 days (total of 24 consecutive days) and did not differ in body mass compared to age- and sex-matched controls. In conclusion, the fish-based gel diet is suitable for rodent feeding trials in toxicology studies that examine dose responses to fish consumption and risk in human populations among which daily fish intake is very high.
    • Source: Somers, C., Valdes, E., & Quinn, J. (2006, March). Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, Volume 63(3), 481-487.
  • A survey and measurement of residues of lindane (organochlorine pesticides) in four species of the most consumed fish in the Caspian Sea. IRAN -- Samples of four species of popular fish (sefid, koli, kilca and kafal fish) were analyzed for concentrations of the organochlorine pesticide lindane. Fish were caught using electroshock fishing at four sites (Chalous and Babolsar cities, Khazar Abad and Miankaleh regions) in the Mazandaran provinces of Iran. Quantitative determination of the lindane was performed by gas chromatography electron-capture detection (GC-ECD). Samples contained detectable concentrations of lindane at concentrations below the maximum residue limit. No differences were found in the lindane concentrations between the types of fish at each site. Two groups of sites were significantly different from one another in terms of lindane concentrations: sites II - IV < site I (P < 0.05). The concentrations of lindane residues in the muscle were found to be less than the FAO/WHO (1993) recommended permissible intake and should not be of public concern in Mazandaran province.
    • Source: Ebadi, A., & Shokrzadeh, M. (2006). Toxicology and Industrial Health, Volume 22(1), 53-58.
  • Serum PCB profiles in Native Americans from Wisconsin based on region, diet, age, and gender: Implications for epidemiology studies. Different PCB congeners and mixtures of congeners have been demonstrated to have different biological actions. Researchers measured thirty-six (36) PCB congeners using gas chromatography isotope-dilution mass spectrometry (IDMS) in 314 serum samples from Native Americans in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. They established five dietary groups based on the quantity and species of fish consumed and the waters from which the fish were caught. Multivariate statistical methods resolved gender and dietary differences in PCB homologue and PCB congener patterns.

    Females had higher proportions of lower chlorinated homologues, including a consistently higher proportion of pentaCB 118. The relative presence of the very labile and volatile PCB 18, above 1% of the total PCB in females from the minimal fish consumption and "other" groups, suggests possible exposure to PCBs in the atmosphere. The dietary group consuming predatory fishes from Lakes Michigan and Superior had the highest serum concentrations of total PCB (mean of 3.1 ng/ml) and the most distinct congener profile. The two dietary groups least dependent on fishing or fishing mostly from inland lakes (non-Great Lakes) had the lowest total PCB concentrations, both with means of 1.4 ng/ml. Serum PCB concentrations measured in this study were less than those found in earlier studies of fish consumers in the Great Lakes region and may reflect the decrease in PCBs in these lakes.
    • Source: Schaeffer, D., Dellinger, J., Needham, L., & Hansen, L. (2006, March). Science of the Total Environment, Volume 357(1-3), 74-87.
  • Butyltin compounds in molluscs from Chinese Bohai coastal waters. Concentrations of butyltin compounds including tributyltin (TBT), dibutyltin (DBT) and monobutyltin (MBT) were determined in mollusc samples from Chinese Bohai coastal sites. Wide existence of butyltins was found in these samples with a detection rate of up to 90%, and the concentrations of the total butyltin (TBT + DBT + MBT) ranged from < 2.5 to 397.6 ng Sn/g (ppb) wet weight (mean 63 ppb). Among butyltins, TBT was the predominant compound in most of the samples, indicating ongoing usage of TBT-based antifouling agents in China. The different accumulation capabilities of BTs among various species were studied. The wide occurrence and serious pollution of BTs in seafood indicated a potential danger for the health of the local people who eat these foods.
    • Source: Yang, R., Zhou, Q., Liu, J., & Jiang, G. (2006, August). Food Chemistry, Volume 97(4), 637-643.

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Meetings and Conferences

  • 13th National Tribal Environmental Council (NTEC) Conference. May 1-4, 2006, Temecula, CA. For more information, visit NTEC http://www.ntec.org/Events/NTEC_Conference/2006ntec_natlconference/index.html Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • National Environmental Health Association 70th Annual Educational Conference & Exhibition. June 25-28, 2006, San Antonio, TX. For more information, visit NEHA http://www.neha.org/AEC/2006/index.html Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • Eighth International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP). August 6-11, 2006, Madison, WI. For more information, visit ICGMP 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 Exit EPA Disclaimer

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