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Water: News

Newsletter—September/October 2007

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

  • Easy on the fish, Mayor; Some OK in moderation, experts say. ILLINOIS - The Mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley made a statement recently that he would nibble on fish out of the cleaned-up Chicago River, once viewed as a "sewer' it was so contaminated. The good news is that cleanup efforts have been paying off and there are fish in the river that are safe for consumption. Residents should follow the consumption guidance issued by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, some of which are specific to the Chicago River.
    • Source: Chicago Sun-Times - August 6, 2007
  • PCB levels in fish net Utah warning. . UTAH - Recently sampled fish in Utah Lake had concentrations of PCBs at levels that prompted new consumption advice. The advisory recommends that adults eat no more than a single, monthly serving of carp or channel catfish. Children, pregnant women, or women of childbearing age should not eat either of these fish from the Utah Lake.
    • Source: Deseret News - October 3, 2007
  • Study: Southern Delta fish safer to eat. CALIFORNIA - A recent study found that mercury levels in fish were lower in the southern Delta, while higher levels existed along the Sacramento River and its tributaries. State health officials are planning adjustments to some of the consumption advisories based on this new information. Fish consumption advisories can be found at http://www.oehha.ca.gov/fish.html.
    • Source: Oakland Tribune - November 6, 2007

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Current Events, News and Journal Articles

  • China steps up oversight of food system. CHINA - Since increasing inspections of food and agriculture products, China has arrested 10 people and shutdown 95 companies without proper licenses. The Chinese government is addressing the problem of illegal pesticides and food additives in various food products they export. Concerns were raised earlier this year because of tainted farmed fish that U.S. and European authorities found high levels of a carcinogenic antibiotic.
    • Source: Food and Drink Weekly - October 1, 2007
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in San Francisco Bay. . PCB contamination in the San Francisco Bay continues to be a problem, even decades after PCB use has been phased out. The Bay is an impaired water body with what experts are saying is many more decades of cleanup efforts ahead. The PCB levels in some fish are over ten times the limit that is safe for human consumption.
    • Source: Davis, J.A., Hetzel, F., Oram, J.J., Mckee, L.J. (2007, September). Environmental Research. Volume 105(1): 67-86.
  • Fish consumption and advisory awareness among low-income women in California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This article highlights some ways to improve communicating fish consumption advisories. Specifically, Hmong and Cambodian women in the San Joaquin Delta of California were found to be unaware of such advisories and were some of the largest consumers of fish in this survey. The conclusion is that there needs to be more emphasis on culturally and linguistically appropriate education for safe fish consumption.
    • Source: Silver, E., Kaslow, J., Lee, D., Lee, S., Tan, M.L., Weis, E., Ujihara, A. (2007, July).Environmental Research. Volume 104(3): 410-419.
  • Comparative analysis of fish consumption advisories to pregnant women and women of childbearing age. This article describes the challenge in presenting both the risks and benefits of fish consumption for pregnant women. It seems there is a lot of misunderstanding among women of childbearing age about what fish offer health benefits and which fish should not be consumed before consulting the advisory. Nearly all fish consumption advisories in the United States are because of five contaminants. These five contaminants, mercury, PCBs, chlordane, dioxins, and dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, comprise approximately 98 percent of fish advisories. The article concludes that pregnant women or women of childbearing age are not aware of fish advisories and do not consult them before consuming fish.
    • Source: Scherer, A.C., Tsuchiya, A., Younglove, L.R., Burbacher, T.M., Faustman, E.M. (2007, May). Birth Defects Research Part A-Clinical and Molecular Treatology. Volume 79(5): 407.
  • Risk assessment of dietary exposure to methylmercury in fish in the UK. The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products, and the Environment (COT) analyzed toxicity data based on human consumption of mercury to develop more specific guidance for fish consumption. Using data based on mercury poisonings and incidental ingestion in humans, rather than laboratory animals, the group was better able to focus some consumption advice for population subgroups in the U.K. Pregnant women and those who may become pregnant were advised to avoid consumption of shark and swordfish. Children were also advised to avoid eating these species.
    • Source: Maycock, B.J., Benford, D.J. (2007, March). Human and Experimental Toxicology. Volume 26(3): 185-190.
  • Intake of chemical contaminants through fish and seafood consumption by children of Catalonia, Spain: Health risks. Researches collected samples throughout Spain of the 14 most commonly consumed marine fish in Catalonia. These samples were analyzed for arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), PCBs, PCNs, PBDEs, PCDEs, hexachlorobenzene, and PAHs. Based on previous studies of Catalonian fish consumption that established eating patterns by age and gender, the average exposure does not exceed the established benchmarks.
    • Source: Marti-Cid, R., Bocio, A., Llobet, J.M., Domingo, J.L. (2007, October). Food and Chemical Toxicology. Volume 45(10): 1968-1974.
  • Essential and toxic metals in nine fish species for human consumption from two coastal lagoons in the Eastern Gulf of California. Nine fish species from two coastal lagoons in the Eastern Gulf of California were sampled and analyzed for concentrations of cadmium, copper, iron, manganese, lead, and zinc. The hammerhead shark had concentrations of lead, copper, and zinc that were above the limits considered safe for human consumption. Cadmium exceeded these limits in the bull shark and catfish and the pacific herring had elevated levels of zinc.
    • Source: Ruelas-Inzunza, J., Paez-Osuna, F. (2007, August). Journal of Environmental Science and Health Part A-Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering. Volume 42(10): 1411-1416.

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