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Water: News

Newsletter—October 2010


Recent Advisory News

Testing for PCBs in South Carolina’s Catawba River basin

Unsafe levels of polychlorinated biphenlys (PCBs) have been found in a large stretch of the Catawba River basin in South Carolina. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Bureau of Water said that the state has issued fish consumption advisories in Lake Wateree and has tested four upstream sites, including Lake Wylie, to find the cause. The state expects to have results back sometime in October and will issue additional advisories if necessary.

Source: Lake Wylie Pilot (SC), 8/31/2010

Kentucky 2010 fish advisories released

The Kentucky Department for Public Health, the Department for Environmental Protection, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources issued fish consumption advisories in September for bodies of water in Kentucky. The 2010 advisories remain unchanged from those issued in 2009.

Source: The Amplifier Online (KY), 9/7/2010

8,000 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico reopened to fishing

On September 21, 2010 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reopened 7,970 square miles of Gulf waters along the southern boundary of the area previously closed to commercial and recreational fishing. The area closed to all fishing as of September 21st measures 31,915 square miles and covers about 13% of the Gulf of Mexico exclusive economic zone (down from the peak closure in June of almost 37%). This most recent reopening was announced after consultation with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and under a re-opening protocol agreed to by NOAA, the FDA, and the Gulf states. Between July 31 and August 10, NOAA sampled the area for pelagic finfish, including tuna and billfish. Sensory analyses of 93 samples found no detectable oil or dispersant odors or flavors, and chemical analyses of 92 samples in 18 composites found that levels were well below those that would cause concern. NOAA will continue to take samples for testing from the newly re-opened area. The agency will also continue dockside sampling to test fish caught throughout the Gulf by commercial fishermen.

Source: NOAA, 9/21/2010

Perfluorinated compounds found in Washington state fish

A new state study of state of Washington water and fish has found widespread levels of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs)—man-made chemicals commonly used to produce non-stick cookware and breathable waterproof clothing. The study found low levels of PFCs in lakes and rivers, fish, and wastewater treatment plants. It also found high levels in osprey eggs from the lower Columbia River. The human health risks from PFC consumption are not yet known.

Source: The Associated Press, 8/10/2010

Study: Omega-3 fats did not benefit heart attack survivors

A new study of nearly 5,000 heart attack survivors found that subjects who got a small daily serving of omega-3 fatty acid-enhanced margarines—about four teaspoons—had mortality rates, repeat heart attack, or other heart problems similar to those who ate regular margarine. However, diabetic patients in the study who ate margarine with omega-3 fats had about 50 percent fewer heart-related deaths and abnormal heart rhythms.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, 8/30/2010?

Recent Research

Public perception of natural resource damages

More than 98% of respondents to a survey of the public in coastal New York and New Jersey felt that natural resources should be restored; 40% thought the government should restore them, while 23% felt that the responsible party should. The highest rated resources were endangered wildlife, fish, mammals, and clams/crabs. These data indicate that governmental agencies should attempt to clarify the relationship between chemical discharges, resource injury, and restoration of those resources to produce clean air and water, fish and wildlife, and recreational opportunities.

Burger, J. (2010). Public perceptions of natural resource damages and the resources that require restoration. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health A 73(19): 1325–1336.

Fish consumption and depressive symptoms: Ryukyus Child Health Study

The researchers examined the association between fish, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake and depressive symptoms in a group of adolescents from public high schools in Japan. Intake of fish, EPA, and DHA were all inversely associated with depressive symptoms in boys; however, no such associations were observed among girls.

Murakami, K., M. Yoshihiro, S. Sasaki, K. Tanaka, and M. Arakawa. (2010). Fish and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake and depressive symptoms: Ryukyus Child Health Study. Pediatrics 126(3):e623-30. Epub 2010 Aug 16.

Evaluation of a fish consumption advisory program for Anishinaabe tribal members

The authors conducted a probabilistic analysis of exposure to methyl mercury (MeHg) among Anishinaabe tribal members from northern Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) has an extensive program to inform these tribal members about the health risks of consuming walleye and to encourage harvest and consumption practices that reduce exposure to MeHg. This analysis allows GLIFWC to evaluate, focus, and fine-tune its initiatives to protect the health of tribal members while maintaining important tribal practices, which include the harvest and consumption of walleye.

Foran, J.A., A.D. Deweese, M.J. Hudson, and N.E. Kmeicik (2010). Evaluation of mercury exposure reduction through a fish consumption advisory program for Anishinaabe tribal members in northern Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. Journal of Environmental and Public Health. pii: 802584. Epub 2010 Jul 25.

A risk-benefit analysis of wild fish consumption for various species in Alaska

The researchers applied new methods for developing fish consumption advice to an existing data-set for methylmercury (MeHg) levels in Alaskan fish. The quantitative risk-benefit analysis weighed the risks of MeHg bioaccumulation against the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Their findings suggest that consumption of many of the fish species studied, including northern pike, Pacific Halibut, and arctic grayling, may lead to increased risk of coronary heart disease and declines in infant visual recognition memory. However, the authors note significant variation among regions, among studies within the same region, and also within studies, which make it difficult to craft consistent consumption advice. Whereas salmon consistently shows a net-benefit, data for arctic grayling, pike, sablefish, and some halibut are too imprecise to provide consistent recommendations. The authors recommend more detailed local-scale monitoring, and identification of possible thresholds for increased risk in the future.

Loring, P. A., L. K. Duffy, M.S. Murray. (2010). A risk-benefit analysis of wild fish consumption for various species in Alaska reveals shortcomings in data and monitoring needs. Science of the Total Environment 408(20): 4532–4541.

Mercury and PCBs in New York City’s Asian market fish

The authors measured total mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in 19 species or products from retail fish markets in Chinese neighborhoods in New York City, NY. Species were selected based on their volume in the market and an absence of national data on mercury levels. The highest mercury level (1.150microg/g) was measured in a tilefish specimen, while the highest PCB levels were measured in a buffalo carp (469ng/g) and a yellow croaker (495ng/g).

McKelvey, W., M. Chang, J. Armason, N. Jeffrey, J. Kricheff, D. Kass. (2010). Mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls in Asian market fish: a response to results from mercury biomonitoring in New York City. Environmental Research 110(7): 650–657.

Do fish growth rates correlate with PCB body burdens?

The researchers investigated whether growth rates of six fish species correlated with PCB concentrations in a polluted freshwater ecosystem and found that growth correlated significantly, but positively, with PCB concentrations for 4 of 6 species. Growth rates of four species were similar to or higher than regional average growth rates. The authors conclude that PCBs at this level do not exert negative impacts on growth.

Rypel, A. L. and D. R. Bayne. (2010). Do fish growth rates correlate with PCB body burdens? Environmental Pollution, 158(8): 2533–2536.

Monitoring for PBDEs in residents of the Great Lakes basin

The authors compared levels of major polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congeners in archived blood samples collected from Great Lakes fish consumers in 1994–1995, 2001–2003 and 2004–2005. Increases in some PBDE congeners were seen from 1994–1995 to 2001–2003 and from 1994–1995 to 2004–2005, but levels did not change significantly between 2001–2003 and 2004–2005. The authors also noted a shift in the congener distribution over time.

Turyk, M. E., H. A. Anderson, D. Steenport, C. Buelow, P., Imm, and L. Knobeloch. (2010). Longitudinal biomonitoring for polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in residents of the Great Lakes basin. Chemosphere, Aug 12. [Epub ahead of print].

Protein sources and risk of coronary heart disease in women

The authors followed 84,136 women from the Nurses' Health Study for 26 years and found that higher intakes of red meat and high-fat dairy were significantly associated with elevated risk of coronary heart disease. Higher intakes of poultry, fish, and nuts were significantly associated with lower risk. Based on model results, 1 serving per day of fish was associated with a 24% lower risk of coronary heart disease compared with 1 serving per day of red meat. Similarly, compared with 1 serving per day of red meat, a lower risk was associated with 1 serving per day of low-fat poultry (19%) and nuts (30%).

Bernstein, A. M., Q. Sun, F.B. Hu, and R.M. Krauss. (2010). Major dietary protein sources and risk of coronary heart disease in women. Circulation 122(9): 876–883.

Pathways of mine contaminants to bull trout in Idaho

The authors measured concentrations of metals in fish tissue from native salmonids in the historical mining area of the Gold Creek drainage in northern Idaho. Fish tissue, sediment, and benthic macroinvertebrate tissue concentrations for all metals tested were significantly higher below mine sites compared with the control site. Metals concentrations in benthic macroinvertebrate tissues and fish tissues were strongly correlated, suggesting a transfer of metals through a dietary pathway. The authors also observed histopathological changes in livers of bull trout, including inflammation, necrosis, and pleomorphism.

Kiser, T., J. Hansen, and B. Kennedy. (2010). Impacts and pathways of mine contaminants to bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) in an Idaho watershed. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. 59(2): 301–311.

Omega-3 fatty acids and lipoprotein associated phospholipase A(2) in healthy older adults

The researchers supplemented the diets of a group of healthy adults age 50 or older for 8 weeks with omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil or flaxseed oil. They tested whether these changes would alter lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A(2) (Lp-PLA(2)), which is an enzyme produced by inflammatory cells that has been associated with stroke and cardiovascular disease. Omega-3 fatty acids have in the past been implicated in reducing inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease; however, this study did not find any significant changes in Lp-PLA(2) mass or activity after the dietary change.

Nelson, T. L., J. E. Hokanson, and M.S. Hickey. (2010). Omega-3 fatty acids and lipoprotein associated phospholipase A(2) in healthy older adult males and females. European Journal of Nutrition 2010 Aug 13. [Epub ahead of print].

Meetings and Conferences

Hawaii Seafood Symposium (PDF) (4 pp, 428KB, about PDF)
October 20-22, 2010 Ala Moana Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii
http://www.hawaii-seafood.org/symposium Exit EPA Disclaimer


American Water Resources Association
November 1–4, 2010 Philadelphia, PA
http://awra.org/meetings/Philadelphia2010/index.shtml Exit EPA Disclaimer
Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)
November 7–11, 2010 Portland, OR
http://portland.setac.org/ Exit EPA Disclaimer
13th International Conference on Shellfish Restoration
November 17–20, 2010 Charleston, South Carolina
http://www.scseagrant.org/Content/?cid=297 Exit EPA Disclaimer


Society for Risk Analysis
December 5–8, 2010 Salt Lake City, UT
http://www.sra.org/events_2010_meeting.php Exit EPA Disclaimer


Society of Toxicology 50th Anniversary Meeting
March 6–10, 2011 Washington DC
http://www.toxicology.org/AI/MEET/AM2011/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

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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