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Water: News

Newsletter—September 2010


Recent Advisory News

Proceedings of the 2009 National Forum on Contaminants in Fish

The proceedings document of the 2009 National Forum on Contaminants in Fish, held in Portland, Oregon, is now available online. The document contains abstracts of the presentations, copies of the slides used by presenters, transcriptions of questions and answers raised, and other information presented at the forum. The document is available on EPA’s Web site: http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/fishshellfish/fishadvisories/2009_index.cfm

Oklahoma issues fish consumption advisories for lakes

In early July, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a fish consumption advisory for mercury in 16 of the state's lakes. The advisories are the result of three years of testing done by DEQ and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC).

Source: Tulsa World (OK), 07/07/2010

Oklahoma anglers say advisories may prompt them to limit consumption

Anglers interviewed after the release of Oklahoma’s new mercury advisories say they will pay more attention to what they catch and eat. One fisherman said posting the advisory recommendations at lake sites would be a good idea. "It's probably something that people would want to know," he said. "I know I do. It probably wouldn't stop you from fishing, but I'd be more apt to throw it back."

Source: Morgan, Rhett; Tulsa World (OK), 07/10/2010

Texas replaces chlordane advisory on Trinity River with dioxin, PCBs

The Texas Department of State Health Services issued an advisory in early July warning people not to eat fish from several portions of the Trinity River due to contamination from dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The new advisory replaces previous warnings issued in 1990 and 2002 that prohibited fishing or possessing fish from the Trinity River because of high concentrations of chlordane, a pesticide that is now banned.

Source: Luna, Taryn; The Dallas Morning News (TX), 07/07/2010

Michigan issues updated fish consumption advisory

In late July, the Michigan Department of Community Health issued the 2010 Michigan Fish Advisory for fish caught in the state and the Great Lakes. Details of the advisory are available on the state's Web site: http://www.michigan.gov/fishandgameadvisory Exit EPA Disclaimer.

Source: Associated Press, 07/22/2010

Indiana issues 2010 fish consumption advisory

The Indiana State Department of Health has issued the 2010 Indiana Fish Consumption Advisory. This year, the advisory includes several new waterbodies, many with unlimited consumption advice. There is also a 2010 Safe Eating Guidelines Table that can be used as an overall guide for most of Indiana's inland waters. The advisory also includes guidance on purchased fish. The 2010 advisory can be found online at http://www.in.gov/isdh/23650.htm Exit EPA Disclaimer.

Source: Indiana State Department of Health, 7/29/2010

Louisiana Gulf waters reopened for fishing

The federal government has recently reopened 4,281 square miles of federal waters off the coast of western Louisiana to commercial and recreational fishing, meaning that no oil can be present or expected to be present in the foreseeable future in these waters, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The region being reopened represents approximately 7 percent of the total area in the Gulf of Mexico that had been closed off prior to this announcement, while more than 48,000 square miles of federal waters remain closed to fishing. NOAA stated that they will continue to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to test seafood from reopened areas of the Gulf.

Source: CNN.com, 8/27/2010

Gulf seafood tested for oil but not dispersant

NOAA tested seafood from parts of the Gulf of Mexico and announced in mid-July that it was safe to eat. However, at that time, seafood samples were not tested for the presence of toxic compounds found in dispersants used to break up the oil after the spill. The Environmental Working Group, an environmental nonprofit group, voiced concern that the dispersants can contain heavy metals, such as arsenic, chromium, and copper, and there is little understanding of their long-term health effects on seafood consumers.

Source: Indiana State Department of Health, 7/29/2010

Omega-3s may reduce risk of breast cancer

A recent report adds to the growing evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may play a role in preventing chronic disease. Researchers asked more than 35,000 postmenopausal women who did not have a history of breast cancer to complete a 24-page questionnaire about their use of supplements. Regular use of fish oil supplements, which contain high levels of the omega-3 fats eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), was linked with a 32 percent reduced risk of breast cancer.

Source: Food Consumer, 07/27/2010

Study finds fires contribute to mercury in fish

A University of Colorado study found that forest fires in southwestern Colorado may have contributed to the toxic mercury found in fish in Vallecito Reservoir near Durango. Researchers say coal-fired power plants in the region are thought to be the main source of mercury. The authors said that the mercury would be harmless if large fires didn't cause it to be released from the soil and converted to methylmercury, a toxic substance. The National Science Foundation recently awarded a $690,000 grant to help expand the scope of the study.

Source: Associated Press, 07/15/2010

Recent Publications

Low mercury levels in largemouth bass from Nevada wildlife refuge

The authors measured fish tissue mercury concentrations from largemouth bass from Crystal Reservoir, located in Nevada’s Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Previous investigations had detected mercury in water samples from the source springs; however, mercury concentrations in the fish were lower than national human health and safety standards.

Goodchild, S. and S. Gerstenberger (2010). "Mercury Concentrations in Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) Collected from Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Nye County, Nevada." Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 2010 Jul 3. [Epub ahead of print].

Computer software for collection of tribal fish consumption data

The authors developed a computer-assisted personal interviewing survey tool to measure seafood consumption within tribal communities. The software is based on Pacific NW Native American seafood consumption survey methodology and is easily configured for different cultures and seafood resources. This system is a cost-effective way to collect consumption data and will satisfy EPA’s guidance objectives for developing ambient water quality criteria for tribes. The survey instrument was pilot tested among the Quinault Nation in 2006.

Kissinger, L., R. Lorenzana, B. Mittl, M. Lasrado, S. Iwenofu, V. Olivo, C. Helba, P. Capoeman, and A.H. Williams (2010). "Development of a Computer-Assisted Personal Interview Software System for Collection of Tribal Fish Consumption Data." Risk Anal 2010 Jul 9. [Epub ahead of print].

PCB and PBDE levels in wild common carp from eastern Lake Erie

Researchers analyzed male common carp from eastern Lake Erie and from two nearby relatively clean (control) lakes for PCB and PBDE concentrations in plasma, muscle, and liver. While PCBs were detected in muscle, liver, and plasma of Lake Erie carp, the largest concentrations were found in muscle, which also had the largest number of PCB congeners. In contrast, PBDEs were found only in muscle. The total PCB concentrations in fish muscle from eastern Lake Erie were 100-fold higher than the total PBDE observed, indicating a higher level of contamination of PCBs in Lake Erie.

Perez-Fuentetaja, A., S. Lupton, et al. (2010). "PCB and PBDE levels in wild common carp (Cyprinus carpio) from eastern Lake Erie." Chemosphere 2010 Jul 5. [Epub ahead of print].

Mercury advisories and household health trade-offs

Based on analysis of household-level seafood consumption data, the authors found strong evidence that while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fish advisory reduced mercury levels in consumer diets, it also reduced the consumption of healthful omega-3 fatty acids. Based on their analyses with a risk assessment model, the authors concluded that net benefits from the advisory were negative.

Shimshack, J. P. and M. B. Ward (2010). "Mercury Advisories and Household Health Trade-offs." J Health Econ 2010 Jun 4. [Epub ahead of print].

Communicating methylmercury risks and fish consumption benefits to vulnerable childbearing populations

This article reviews the benefits and risks of fish consumption and identifies strategies for health professionals to effectively communicate risk messages to vulnerable groups, particularly women of childbearing age.

Kuntz S.W., J.A Ricco, W.G. Hill, and L. Anderko. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing. 2010 Jan; 39(1):118-26.

Persistent organic pollutants in fish tissue in the mid-continental great rivers of the United States

In 2004–2005, as part of the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program for Great River Ecosystems (EMAP-GRE), the authors measured pesticides, PCBs, and PBDEs in whole fish to estimate human and wildlife exposure risks from fish consumption. Concentrations were highest in the Ohio River, followed by the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, respectively. Fish tissue concentrations of dieldrin and PCBs exceeded human screening values for cancer risk in 27–54% and 16–98% of river km surveyed, respectively. PBDE concentrations were highest in large fish in the Missouri and Ohio rivers.

Blocksom, K.A., D. M. Walters, T. M. Jicha, J.M. Lazorchak, T. R. Angradi, and D. W. Bolgrien. Science of the Total Environment Volume 408, Issue 5, 1 February 2010, Pages 1180-1189

Temporal trends of legacy POPs in Arctic biota

The authors analyzed persistent organic pollutant (POP) data from the past three decades for Arctic biota and found that most of the analyzed time series of compounds showed decreasing trends, while only a few time series showed significantly increasing trends. The trends observed in the biota were consistent with decreasing trends of legacy POPs reported for Arctic air.

Rig, A. (2010). "Temporal trends of legacy POPs in Arctic biota, an update." Science of the Total Environment [Sci. Total Environ.]. 408(15): 2874-2884.

Mercury concentrations and omega-3 fatty acids in fish and shrimp

The researchers set out to determine how to balance consumption amounts of different fish species and shrimp based on mercury concentrations and recommended intake levels of omega-3 fatty acids. They conclude that species both high in healthful omega-3s and low in mercury include salmon, trout, and shrimp, while other species with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids (tuna, shark, halibut, swordfish, and sea bass) also tend to have high concentrations of mercury.

Smith, K. L. and J. L. Guentzel (2010). "Mercury concentrations and omega-3 fatty acids in fish and shrimp: Preferential consumption for maximum health benefits." Mar Pollut Bull 2010 Jul 13. [Epub ahead of print].

Fish consumption risk assessment for the Lower Passaic River, NJ

This study had two objectives: first, to use publicly available data to characterize concentrations of contaminants in fish from the Lower Passaic River, and second, to use these data to calculate the contaminant concentrations in a “Representative Fish,” which the authors calculated based upon consumption patterns of local anglers. This project provided a representative dataset for conducting a human health assessment associated with fish consumption from the Lower Passaic River.

Tachovsky, J. A., J. D. Urban, D.S. Wickoff, L.C. Haws, and M.A. Harris (2010). "Reduction of a large fish tissue analyte database: Identifying and assessing data specific to a remediation site for risk assessment application." Chemosphere [Chemosphere] 80(5): 481-488.

Meetings and Conferences

September November
American Fisheries Society September 12–16, 2010 Pittsburgh, PA
http://www.fisheries.org/afs10/Exit EPA Disclaimer
American Water Resources Association
November 1–4, 2010 Philadelphia, PA
http://awra.org/meetings/Philadelphia2010/index.shtml Exit EPA Disclaimer
30th International Symposium on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
September 12–17, 2010 San Antonio, Texas
http://www.dioxin2010.org/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


December Upcoming
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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