Research Articles Advance Publication
Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/EHP104
Are Fish Consumption Advisories for the Great Lakes Adequately Protective from Chemical Mixture?
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Background: North American Great Lakes are home to more than 140 types of fish and are famous for recreational and commercial fishing. However, presence of toxic substances has resulted in issuance of fish consumption advisories typically based on the most restrictive contaminant.
Objectives: We investigate if these advisories, which typically neglect existence of a mixture of chemicals and their possible additive adverse effects, are adequately protective of health of humans consuming fish from the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes.
Methods: Using recent fish contaminant monitoring data collected by the Government of Ontario, Canada, we simulated advisories using the most restrictive contaminant (one-chem) and multi-contaminant additive effect (multi-chem) approaches. The advisories from the two simulations were compared to examine if there is any deficiency in the currently issued advisories.
Results: About half of the advisories presently issued are potentially not adequately protective. Of the Great Lakes, the highest percentage of advisories affected would be in Lake Ontario if an additive effect is considered. Many fish, which are popular for consumption such as Walleye, Salmon, Bass and Trout, would have noticeably more stringent advisories.
Conclusions: Improvements in the advisories may be needed to ensure that the health of humans consuming fish from the Great Lakes is protected. In this region, total PCB and mercury are the major contaminants causing restriction on consuming fish, while dioxins/furans, toxaphene and mirex/photomirex are of a minor concern. Regular monitoring of most organochlorine pesticides and metals in fish can be discontinued.
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Citation: Gandhi N, Drouillard KG, Arhonditsis GB, Gewurtz SB, Bhavsar SP. Are Fish Consumption Advisories for the Great Lakes Adequately Protective from Chemical Mixture? Environ Health Perspect; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/EHP104
Received: 21 March 2016
Revised: 24 June 2016
Accepted: 12 July 2016
Published: 4 October 2016
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This month EHP’s Children’s Health section highlights recent laboratory research about health effects of early-life exposures. By showing causative linkage between specific exposures and various health outcomes in animal models, toxicologists help to confirm associations found in observational human studies. Together, toxicologists and epidemiologists build the scientific evidence base used by risk assessors and regulators to protect children’s health.
Learn more about rigor and transparency in scientific publishing at the 2017 SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo, as EHP Editor-in-Chief Sally Perreault Darney chairs and speaks at an Informational Session titled “Addressing Rigor and Transparency in Research and Journal Publication.” At the session, scheduled for Wednesday, March 15, at 5:00 PM in Room CC 314, Sally will talk about interdisciplinary challenges for rigor and reproducibility in environmental health research. More details are available in the SOT 2017 Conference Program.