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Newsletter - October 2005

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

  • State warns of high dioxin levels in some Tittabawassee River Fish LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Elevated levels of dioxin were reported in several fish species from Michigan's Tittabawassee River. The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has advised the general population not to consume any carp, catfish, or white bass and has recommended a restricted consumption of all other fish from the Tittabawassee River (one meal per week). Women of childbearing age and children under the age of 15 are advised not to eat any carp, catfish, white bass, or smallmouth bass and to restrict the consumption of all other fish to one meal per month. The only exception to this restriction was Walleye less than 22 inches in length, which may be eaten by the general population and consumed once a week by women of childbearing age and children under the age of 15. These advisories are contained in a report called Tittabawassee River Fish Health Consultation. It is available on the health department's web page, http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/ (under Quick Links, click on News Releases) , or by calling the department toll-free at (800) 648-6942.
    • Source: Copyright © 2005 Associated Press, September 8, 2005, 8:42 PM.

Current Events, News and Journal Articles

  • Tests Find High Mercury Levels in Fish WASHINGTON (AP) - The environmental advocacy group Oceana sponsored a study to examine levels of mercury in store-bought swordfish. The joint U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)/U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) national mercury advisory warns pregnant women, nursing mothers, women who plan to become pregnant, and young children to avoid consumption of swordfish. Swordfish samples were collected from a number of supermarket chains, including Safeway, Shaws, Albertsons, and Whole Foods. Oceana would like supermarkets to post signs warning shoppers of the health risks from mercury at the point of purchase. The average mercury level in the swordfish samples tested was 1.1 ppm, just over the FDA limit of 1 ppm. The study also tested of 31 tuna steak, which averaged a mean mercury concentration of 0.33 ppm-comparable to levels reported in canned albacore tuna.
    • Source: Copyright © 2005 Associated Press, Libby Quaid, September 15, 2005, 12:22 pm.
  • Assessment of trace elements in canned fishes (e.g., mackerel, tuna, salmon, sardines and herrings) marketed in Georgia and Alabama. Concentrations of 14 trace metals in104 canned fish samples purchased in Georgia and Alabama were determined. Tuna samples contained mercury exceeding the European dietary limit of 0.5 mg Hg/kg, and mean mercury levels in the tuna (0.285 ppm) and sardine (0.107ppm) were higher than the averages posted by the pink salmon (0.036 ppm), red salmon (0.033 ppm), and mackerel (0.036 ppm) brands. Based on the EPA's health criteria for carcinogens, there were no health risks with respect to lead, chromium, copper, and zinc levels in the canned fish analyzed. Additionally, the authors reported that the data suggest significant variations exist in the levels of mercury, arsenic, cobalt, chromium, copper, iron, manganese, tin, vanadium, and zinc across the various fish species and canned fish brands analyzed.
    • Source: Ikem, A., and N.O. Egiebor. 2005. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 18 (8): 771-787.
  • Persistent organic pollutants in edible fish: A human and environmental health problem. The authors used gas chromatography to evaluate the accumulation of hexachlorobenzene (HCB), p,p'-DDE (DDE), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in commercial bluefin tuna, swordfish, and Atlantic mackerel caught in the Italian Seas and of Antarctic toothfish, caught in the Ross Sea. HCB was detected at 0.16 and 0.4 ppb wet weight in toothfish and tuna flesh, respectively; DDE was present at 38, 31, and 0.66 ppb wet weight in swordfish, tuna, and toothfish flesh, respectively; and PCBs were present at 89, 80, and 5.2 ppb wet weight, respectively. The most abundant PCB congeners (mono- and non-ortho) were 153, 138, 180, 118, and 170, accounting for 51% (153), 47% (138), and 18% (118) of PCB in tuna swordfish and toothfish. The 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin toxic equivalents (TEQ) were calculated for each species, and values ranged from 197 to 465 pgTEQ/wk for consumption of 100g of fish flesh per week. These values rose to 788 to 1860 pg TEQ per week for consumption of 400 g fish flesh per week, which is higher than the recommended tolerable weekly intake (with the exception of Antarctic fish).
    • Source: Corsolini, S., N. Ademollo, T. Romeo, S. Greco, and S. Focardi.. 2005. Microchemical Journal 79(1-2): 115-123.
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers and hydroxylated and methoxylated brominated and chlorinated analogues in the plasma of fish from the Detroit River. Congeners of contaminant residues that are structurally analogous to polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants were assessed in the plasma of seven benthic- and six pelagic-feeding fish species from the highly contaminated Detroit River corridor. These included hydroxylated-PBDEs (OH-PBDEs), methoxylated-PBDEs (MeO-PBDEs), and the antimicrobial OH-trichlorodiphenyl ether, triclosan, and its methylated (MeO) triclosan analogue. In all samples, total PBDE concentrations were comprised mainly of three congeners - BDE47, BDE99, and BDE100 - and ranged from 155 to 21,069 pg/g wet weight. Of the 14 OH-PBDE congeners assessed, 10 congeners were identified, although residues were dominated by 6-OH-BDE47. OH-PBDEs are thought to be derived in these freshwater species from metabolites of precursor PBDEs and are retained in the blood. Portions of the OH-PBDEs levels may be of alternate origins and are accumulated and retained in these fish. In all samples, the 14 MeO-PBDEs congeners analyzed were below detection limits.
    • Source: Valters, K., H. Li, M. Alaee, I. D'Sa, G. Marsh, A. Bergman, and R. J. Letcher. 2005. Environmental Science and Technology 39(15): 56-129.
  • Time trends (1983-1999) for organochlorines and PDBEs in rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) from Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Superior, USA. The Great Lakes Science Center has archived rainbow smelt collected from the early 1980s through to the present. These specimen fish were collected to provide time- and site-dependent contaminant concentration data for researchers and managers to fill critical data gaps regarding time trends of persistent organic contaminants in the Great Lakes ecosystem. The authors present data on concentrations of several organochlorine (OC) contaminants in these archived smelt, including DDT, PCBs, toxaphene, and chlordanes in Lakes Michigan and Huron (MI, USA) and in Lake Superior (MN, USA). Trends for all the OCs were declining over the sampled time period (1983/1985-1993/1999), with the exception of toxaphene in Lake Superior and PCBs at the Charlevoix/Little Traverse Bay site in Lake Michigan. Contaminant levels of PBDEs were also tracked from their apparent entry into this ecosystem in 1980 until 1999. PBDEs concentrations in smelt increased exponentially at all sites, with concentration-doubling times varying from 1.58 to 2.94 years.
    • Source: Chernyak, S.M., C.P. Rice, R.T. Quintal, L.J. Begnoche, J.P. Hickey, and B.T. Vinyard. 2005. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 24 (7):1632-41.
  • Fish intake and risk of incident heart failure. The authors investigated the relationship between fish consumption and the incidence of congestive heart failure (CHF) among 4,738 adults 65 years or older. For those adults who were free of CHF at the outset of the study in 1989-1990, dietary intake was assessed using a food-frequency questionnaire. In a specific subsample, consumption of tuna or other broiled or baked fish (not fried fish) correlated with plasma phospholipid n-3 fatty acids. During the 12 years of follow-up study, 955 subjects developed CHF. Tuna/other fish consumption was inversely associated with incident CHF, with 20% lower risk for those individuals with intake 1-2 times per week, 31% lower risk for individuals with intake 3-4 times per week, and 32% lower risk for those individuals intake of 5 or more times per week, compared with an intake of less than once per month. Using similar analyses, fried fish consumption was positively associated with incident CHF. Dietary long-chain n-3 fatty acid intake was also inversely associated with CHF, with 37% lower risk in the highest quintile of intake. The authors concluded that among older adults, consumption of tuna or other broiled or baked fish, but not fried fish, is associated with lower incidence of CHF.
    • Source: Mozaffarian, D., C.L. Bryson, R.N. Lemaitre, G.L. Burke, and D.S. Siscovick. 2005. Journal of the American College of Cardiology 45(12):2015-21.
  • Bioaccumulation of mercury in muscle tissue of fish in the Elbe River (Czech Republic): Multispecies monitoring study, 1991-1996. The authors monitored mercury contamination of fish muscle tissue at 13 sites along the Czech Republic section of the Elbe River. This study was aimed at comparative evaluation of the mercury load during the period from 1991 to 1996. The study's conclusions were supported by multivariate statistical analyses of the mercury levels in muscle tissue of 1251 fish (23 species, with 4 dominant species: Perca fluviatilis, Abramis brama, Rutilus rutilus, and Leuciscus cephalus). Significantly increased contamination was detected in 3 to 5 year old fish in typical predators, as compared to other fish species at all sites. In contrast, omnivorous and planktivorous species were ranked as the least contaminated for mercury. Perch appeared to be the most contaminated species, with muscle mercury levels of 0.840 to 1.398 ppm. Muscle contamination of bream sensitively separated differently among contaminated sites; the highest load ranged from 0.368 to 0.543 mg Hg/kg. Multivariate multispecies analyses found that the age and the feeding strategy of a given species were the most important factors.
    • Source: Dusek, L., Z. Svobodova, D. Janouskova, B.Vykusova, J. Jarkovsky, R. Smid, and P. Pavlis. 2005.Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 61(2):256-67.
  • Variation of total mercury concentrations in pig frogs (Rana grylio) across the Florida Everglades, USA. The authors sampled 88 pig frogs along a north-south transect through the Florida Everglades and detected substantial differences in total mercury (THg) concentrations in leg muscle tissue among the sites. Total mercury in frog leg tissue was highest from areas protected from harvest in Everglades National Park (ENP), with a maximum concentration of 2.051 ppm wet weight. THg levels in pig frog leg muscle from most harvested areas are below Federal advisory limits; however, many pig frogs collected near Frog City, Florida, and one from WCA 3B and 3AN sites, had THg levels above the EPA's 0.3 ppm criterion. Spatial patterns in the mercury found among pig frogs were similar to other wildlife species from the Everglades, and the authors found frogs with high THg levels in areas where alligators and mosquitofish also have high THg. The authors concluded that pig frogs should not be harvested or consumed from sites that exceed federal limits.
    • Source: Ugarte, C.A. K.G. Rice, and M.A.Donnelly. 2005. Science of the Total Environment 345 (1-3): 51-59.
  • Organochlorine concentrations in bonnethead sharks (Sphyrna tiburo) from four Florida Estuaries. The authors examined levels of 29 OC pesticides and total PCBs in the bonnethead shark (Sphyrna tiburo), an abundant species whose reproduction has been impaired in certain Florida populations. Concentrations of PCBs and 22 OC pesticides were detected in the livers of 95 bonnetheads from four estuaries on Florida's Gulf coast: Apalachicola Bay, Tampa Bay, Florida Bay, and Charlotte Harbor. OC concentrations were significantly higher in Apalachicola Bay, Tampa Bay, and Charlotte Harbor bonnetheads in relation to the Florida Bay population. Because the rate of infertility has been shown to be dramatically higher in Tampa Bay versus Florida Bay bonnetheads, the present findings allude to a possible relationship between OC exposure and reproductive health and require further investigation. OC pesticide and PCB levels do not appear to increase with age in bonnetheads, suggesting limited potential for OC bioaccumulation in this species compared with other sharks.
    • Source: Gelsleichter, J., C.A. Manire, N.J. Szabo, E. Cortes, J. Carlson, and L. Lombardi-Carlson. 2005. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 48 (4): 474-83.
  • Perfluorinated compounds in aquatic organisms at various trophic levels in a Great Lakes food chain. The authors examined the trophic transfer of perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and other related perfluorinated compounds in a Great Lakes benthic foodweb. The foodweb included water algae, zebra mussel, round goby, and smallmouth bass. Perfluorinated compounds also were measured in livers and eggs of Chinook salmon and lake whitefish, in the muscle tissue of carp, and in the eggs of brown trout. Green frog livers, snapping turtle plasma, mink livers, and bald eagle tissues also were analyzed to determine concentrations in higher trophic-level organisms in the food chain. PFOS was the most widely detected compound in benthic species, and PFOS levels in benthic invertebrates, such as amphipods and zebra mussels, were approximately 1000-fold greater than those in surrounding water. This suggests a bioconcentration factor (BCF) of 1000 in benthic invertebrates. PFOS levels in round gobies were 2- to 4-fold greater than those in their prey, such as zebra mussels and amphipods. PFOS levels in predatory fishes (e.g., Chinook salmon and lake whitefish) were 10- to 200-fold greater than those in their prey species. PFOS levels in mink and bald eagles were 5- to 10-fold greater than those in Chinook salmon, carp, or snapping turtles. The biomagnification factor (BMF) of perfluorinated compounds in higher trophic-level organisms, such as salmonid fishes, mink, and eagles, were based on the concentrations in livers or plasma. Overall, the authors concluded a BCF of PFOS of approximately 1000 in benthic invertebrates, and a BMF of 10 to 20 in mink or bald eagles, relative to their prey items.
    • Source: Kannan, K., L. Tao, E. Sinclair, S.D. Pastva, D.J. Jude, and J.P. Giesy. 2005. Archive of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 48 (4): 559-566.
  • The impact of age, body mass index, and fish intake on the EPA and DHA content of human erythrocytes. The authors explored factors that can influence red blood cell (RBC) percentages of EPA + DHA, also known as the Omega-3 Index. Information on the number of servings of tuna or nonfried fish consumed per month was collected, as well as on age, gender, ethnicity, smoking status, the presence of diabetes, and body mass index (BMI) in 163 adults in Kansas City who were not taking fish oil supplements. Mean RBC EPA + DHA in this group was 4.9 +/- 2.1%. Four factors significantly and independently influenced the Omega-3 Index in the study population: (1) number of fish servings, (2) age, (3) BMI, and (4) occurrence of diabetes. The Index increased by 0.24 units with each additional monthly serving of tuna or nonfried fish, and by 0.5 units for each additional 10 years in age. The Index was 1.13% units lower in subjects with diabetes and decreased by 0.3% units with each 3-unit increase in BMI. Gender or smoking status had no effect, and the univariate relationship with ethnicity vanished after controlling for fish intake.
    • Source: Sands, S.A., K.J. Reid, S.L. Windsor, and W.S. Harris. 2005. Lipids 40 (4): 343-347.
  • Bioaccumulation and bioavailability of mirex from Lake Ontario sediments. No Abstract available.
    • Source: Pickard, S.W., J.U. Clarke, and G.R. Lotufo. 2005. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 74 (6): 1084-1091.
  • Trace metals in Wyoming fish. No Abstract available.
    • Source: Dailey, R., M.F. Raisbeck, R. Siemion, and S. Wolff. 2005. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 74 (6): 1078-1083.
  • Heavy metals in the oyster Crassostrea corteziensis from Urias lagoon, Mazatlan, Mexico, associated with different anthropogenic discharges. No Abstract available.
    • Source: Frias-Espericueta, M.G. J.I. Osuna-Lopez, S. Flores-Reyes, G. Lopez-Lopez, and G. Izaguirre-Fierro. 2005. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 74(5): 996-1002.
  • Distribution patterns of hexachlorocyclohexanes and other organochlorine compounds in muscles of fish from a Japanese remote lake during 2002-2003. No Abstract available.
    • Source: Takazawa, Y., K. Kitamura, M. Yoshikane, Y. Shibata, M. Morita, and A.Tanaka. 2005. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 74 (4):652-659.

Meetings and Conferences

  • 59th Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies: When Practice Meets Policy. The 59th Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies will be held in St. Louis, MO, October 16-19, 2005. To get more information, visit American Fisheries Society. Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • Organization of Fish and Wildlife Information Managers 2005 Annual Meeting and Conference. The Organization of Fish and Wildlife Information Managers 2005 Annual Meeting and Conference will be held in Tallahassee, FL, October 17-20, 2005. To get more information, please go to the website http://www.ofwim.org. Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • Salmon 2100 Project: Alternative Futures for Pacific Salmon in Western North America. The Salmon 2100 Project will be held in Portland, OR, on October 27, 2005. To get more information, contact Robert T. Lackey, lackey.robert@epa.gov, 541/754-4607.
  • Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). November 13-17, 2005, Baltimore, MD. For more information, please visit SETAC's conference page Exit EPA Disclaimer

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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