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Metal Levels in Fish Captured in Puerto Rico and Estimation of Risk from Fish Consumption

  • Imar Mansilla-Rivera
  • Carlos J. Rodríguez-Sierra
Article

Abstract

Exposure to metals through fish consumption may represent a health risk, especially for high-fish-consumption populations such as fishing communities in the Jobos Bay and La Parguera areas in Puerto Rico. This study determined levels of As, Cd, Cu, Pb, Hg, Se, and Zn in muscle tissues of fish from the Jobos Bay and La Parguera (reference site) areas and estimated the health risk posed by fish ingestion to local fishermen and their children. Fish collected included S. cavalla (“sierra”; n = 14), M. undulatus (“roncón”; n = 21), L. synagris (“arrayado”; n = 18), and L. analis (“sama”; n = 11) in the Jobos Bay area and S. regalis (sierra; n = 10) and L. synagris (arrayado; n = 8) in La Parguera. Only As and Hg were detected at levels of human health concern. Average As and Hg levels (μg/g, wet wt) in the four species of Jobos Bay were 0.74 and 0.10 for roncón, 0.83 and 0.09 for sama, 1.00 and 0.26 for sierra, and 2.49 and 0.15 for arrayado, respectively. In La Parguera, average As and Hg levels (μg/g, wet wt) were 0.61 and 0.12 for sierra and 1.27 and 0.20 for arrayado, respectively. At both sites, the species with the highest As levels was arrayado, while for Hg, sierra obtained the highest concentrations. A risk estimation using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standard exposure factors, and assuming that 10% of total As is the inorganic form and 100% of the total Hg is methyl Hg, predicted adverse health effects (cancer and noncancer) from fish consumption, being higher for children than for adults. However, speciation of As in fish muscle is recommended for better risk estimates. Sierra fish from Jobos Bay triggered the most restricted consumption advisories for Hg noncancer effects, where a child should not consume >1 fish meal (0.1135 kg)/month and adults should not have >3 fish meals (0.227 kg)/month. Fish consumption advisories, particularly for Hg, should be established by the local government to protect the health of susceptible populations such as children and pregnant or childbearing-age women.

Keywords

Fish Species Fish Consumption Fish Meal Hazard Quotient International Criterion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was funded by the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources of Puerto Rico (DNER; F-46) and the Sea Grant–UPR Program (R-91-1-03). We are grateful to Epifanio Burgos and Robinson Cruz for fishing assistance. We would also like to thank personnel from DNER and JBNERR for field assistance and logistics. We are indebted to Leslie A. Acevedo-Marín, Carla A. Salgado, and Lourdes Pérez for the metal analyses and laboratory assistance. We also thank Gladys N. Maldonado and Enixy Collado for administrating the fishermen questionnaires. Finally, we are grateful to RCMI (G12RR03051) and the Puerto Rico Cancer Center for providing supplemental funding for this research.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Imar Mansilla-Rivera
    • 1
  • Carlos J. Rodríguez-Sierra
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Health, Graduate School of Public Health, Medical Sciences CampusUniversity of Puerto RicoSan JuanUSA

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