Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Store-bought Freshwater Fish Contain Elevated Levels Of Mercury, Arsenic And Selenium

Date:
November 8, 2007
Source:
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Summary:
White bass wild-caught and sold commercially contained significantly higher levels of mercury, arsenic and selenium than fish caught near former industrial areas, according to a new study. Results indicated that mercury levels were 2.2 to 4.8 times higher in fish caught in the Canadian Lake Erie than in fish caught near former iron and steel mills.

White bass wild-caught and sold commercially contained significantly higher levels of mercury, arsenic and selenium than fish caught near former industrial areas, according to a new study.
Credit: iStockphoto/Nick Free

White bass wild-caught and sold commercially contained significantly higher levels of mercury, arsenic and selenium than fish caught near former industrial areas. The University of Pittsburgh study showed mercury levels were 2.2 to 4.8 times higher in fish caught in the Canadian Lake Erie and available commercially than in fish caught near former iron and steel mills on the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers in Pittsburgh. While several of these mills have been closed for many years, the nearby rivers continue to contain high levels of pollution from sewer overflows and active industrial operations.

Related Articles


For the study, researchers used local anglers to catch 45 white bass at two locations in Pittsburgh and bought 10 white bass locally that were caught in the Canadian Lake Erie. They analyzed the fish for levels of mercury, arsenic and selenium. In addition to higher levels of mercury, the store-bought fish had levels that were 1.7 times higher for arsenic and 1.9 times higher for selenium.

"We were surprised by our results since we had hypothesized that levels of contaminants in fish would be higher in specimens caught near once heavily polluted sites," said Conrad D. Volz, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., principal investigator, department of environmental and occupational health, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. "These results indicate to us that purchasing fish from a local market cannot guarantee food safety. We recommend a more rigorous testing program for commercial freshwater fish with particular attention to fish entering the U.S. from other countries."

According to Dr. Volz, the results also may indicate that sediments in Lake Erie remain contaminated because of only relatively recent reductions in industrial pollution and active coal-fired power plant air emissions from facilities located around and to the southwest of Lake Erie, as well as wastewater from plants located on the lake. Mercury, arsenic and selenium are markers for coal-burning pollution through air emissions and water pollution and from fly ash piles that are absorbed into surrounding soil. Fly ash is the residue left after coal burning that is often stored at the plant site.

The results of this research were presented at a special session on "Contaminants in Freshwater Fish: Toxicity, Sources and Risk Communication," on Nov. 7, at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Washington, D.C.

The study was funded by grants from the Highmark Foundation, the DSF Charitable Trust and the Heinz Endowments. Co-authors of the study include Nancy Sussman, Ph.D., Devra Davis, Ph.D., Maryann Donovan, Ph.D., Jeanne Zborowski, Ph.D., Yan Liu, all with the University of Pittsburgh; Sean Brady, Venture Outdoors, Pittsburgh; and Karen Gainey, Kamsport, Pittsburgh.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Store-bought Freshwater Fish Contain Elevated Levels Of Mercury, Arsenic And Selenium." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071107083904.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. (2007, November 8). Store-bought Freshwater Fish Contain Elevated Levels Of Mercury, Arsenic And Selenium. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071107083904.htm
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Store-bought Freshwater Fish Contain Elevated Levels Of Mercury, Arsenic And Selenium." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071107083904.htm (accessed November 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Watch Baby Goose Survive A 400-Foot Cliff Dive

Watch Baby Goose Survive A 400-Foot Cliff Dive

Buzz60 (Oct. 31, 2014) For its nature series Life Story, the BBC profiled the barnacle goose, whose chicks must make a daredevil 400-foot cliff dive from their nests to find food. Jen Markham has the astonishing video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) The import of salamanders around the globe is thought to be contributing to the spread of a deadly fungus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) A health group in the United Kingdom has called for mandatory calorie labels on alcoholic beverages in the European Union. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

AFP (Oct. 31, 2014) Focus on treating the Ebola epidemic in Liberia means that treatment for malaria, itself a killer, is hard to come by. MSF are now undertaking the mass distribution of antimalarials in Monrovia. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins