National contaminant biomonitoring program: Concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, selenium, and zinc in U.S. Freshwater Fish, 1976–1984

  • Christopher J. Schmitt
  • William G. Brumbaugh


From late 1984 to early 1985, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service collected a total of 315 composite samples of whole fish from 109 stations nationwide, which were analyzed for arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, selenium, and zinc. Geometric mean, maximum, and 85th percentile concentrations (μg/g wet weight) for 1984 samples were as follows: arsenic-0.14, 1.5, 0.27; cadmium-0.03, 0.22, 0.05; copper-0.65, 23.1, 1.0; mercury-0.10, 0.37, 0.17; lead-0.11, 4.88, 0.22; selenium-0.42, 2.30, 0.73; and zinc-21.7, 118.4, 34.2. The mean concentrations of selenium and lead were significantly lower than in the previous NCBP collection (1980–81). Mean concentrations of arsenic and cadmium also declined significantly between 1976, when elemental contaminants in fish were first measured in the NCBP, and 1984. Of greatest significance, lead concentrations declined steadily from 1976 to 1984, suggesting that regulatory measures have successfully reduced the influx of lead to the aquatic environment.


Arsenic Selenium Common Carp Largemouth Bass Channel Catfish 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher J. Schmitt
    • 1
  • William G. Brumbaugh
    • 1
  1. 1.U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife ServiceNational Fisheries Contaminant Research CenterColumbiaUSA

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