Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 13, pp 9595–9602 | Cite as

Fish consumption recommendations to conform to current advice in regard to mercury intake

  • H. C. Vieira
  • F. Morgado
  • A. M. V. M. Soares
  • S. N. Abreu
Review Article

Abstract

This article reviews fish consumption data, mercury tolerable intake values, and mercury (Hg) content in fish, based on several reports from the Food and Agriculture Organization and European Union. The study assumptions are valid based on the current established USEPA reference dose (RfD). Combining the number of meals (per week), amount of fish ingested (by meal), and levels of MeHg in fish, this study calculates and presents isocurves indicating the maximum number of fishmeal per week without exceeding the USEPA RfD for methylmercury (MeHg). RfD are assumed to be the “exposure dose that is likely to be without deleterious effect even if continued exposure occurs over a lifetime.” The study points out that even considering a single 50-g fish meal per week, the USEPA RfD would be exceeded, triggered by values above 0.84 μg g−1 of MeHg in fish, and this despite being allowed levels up to 1.0 μg g−1 of MeHg in fish consumption!—Have we a health risk? Fish consumption is expected to be relatively stable, while anthropogenic mercury emissions are expected to stabilize or even to increase beyond current values. How many meals of fish per week can we have, combining the number of fish meals per week, amount of fish ingested by meal, and levels of MeHg in fish?

Keywords

Fish consumption Isocurves fish consumption Methylmercury exposure Mercury tolerable intake Reference dose 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Sizenando Abreu received the individual postdoctoral grant ref.BPD/UI88/2911/2013, within the “Projeto CENTRO- 07/ST24/002033MARES - Sustainable Use of Marine Resources,” cofinanced by QREN, Mais Centro-Programa Operacional Regional do Centro e União Europeia/Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional.

Compliance with ethical standards

The authors did not involve human participants nor other animals; the research reviews published data from literature.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

References

  1. Baeyens W et al (2003) Bioconcentration and biomagnification of mercury and methylmercury in North Sea and Scheldt Estuary fish. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 45:498–508. doi: 10.1007/s00244-003-2136-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bellanger M et al (2013) Economic benefits of methylmercury exposure control in Europe: monetary value of neurotoxicity prevention. Environ Health 12:3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Burger J (2005) Fishing, fish consumption, and knowledge about advisories in college students and others in central New Jersey. Environ Res 98:268–275. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2004.09.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burger J, Gaines KF, Gochfeld M (2001) Ethnic differences in risk from mercury among Savannah River. Fishermen Risk Anal 21:533–544. doi: 10.1111/0272-4332.213130 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burger J, Dixon C, Boring S, Gochfeld M (2003) Effect of deep-frying fish on risk from mercury. J Toxicol Environ Health A 66:817–828. doi: 10.1080/15287390306382 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cizdziel JV, Gerstenberger S (2004) Determination of total mercury in human hair and animal fur by combustion atomic absorption spectrometry. Talanta 64:918–921. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2004.04.013 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Codex Alimentarius Commission (2011) Working document for information and use in discussions related to contaminants and toxins in the GSCTFF. NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  8. Dourson ML, Wullenweber AE, Poirier KA (2001) Uncertainties in the reference dose for methylmercury. Neurotoxicology 22:677–689. doi: 10.1016/S0161-813X(01)00060-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. EFSA (2012) Scientific opinion on the risk for public health related to the presence of mercury and methylmercury in food. EFSA J 10Google Scholar
  10. Egeland GM, Middaugh JP (1997) Balancing fish consumption benefits with mercury exposure. Science 278:1904–1905. doi: 10.1126/science.278.5345.1904 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. EU (1993) Determining analysis methods, sampling plans and maximum limits for mercury in fishery productsGoogle Scholar
  12. EU (2001) Regulation (EC) No 466/2001. JO L77, 16.03.01 (pp. 01–13)Google Scholar
  13. EU (2005) Regulation (EC) No. 78/2005. JO L16, 19.01.05 (pp. 43–45)Google Scholar
  14. EUMOFA (2014) The EU fish market, 2014 Edition ednGoogle Scholar
  15. Failler P, Van de Walle G, Lecrivain N, Himbes A, Lewins R (2007) Future prospects for fish and fishery products. 4. Fish consumption in the European Union in 2015 and 2030. Part 1. European overview FAO Fisheries Circular (FAO)Google Scholar
  16. FAO (2012) The state of world fisheries and aquaculture 2012. FOOD & AGRICULTURE ORGNGoogle Scholar
  17. FAO/WHO (2011) Report of the joint FAO/WHO expert consultation on the risks and benefits of fish consumption. Rome, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Geneva, World Health Organization, 50 ppGoogle Scholar
  18. Goldman LR, Shannon MW (2001) Technical report: mercury in the environment: implications for pediatricians. Pediatrics 108:197–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Grandjean P, Budtz-Jørgensen E (2007) Total imprecision of exposure biomarkers: implications for calculating exposure limits. Am J Ind Med 50:712–719. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20474 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hansen JC, Danscher G (1997) Organic mercury: an environmental threat to the health of dietary-exposed societies? Rev Environ Health 12:107–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Horvat M et al. (1999) Mercury in contaminated coastal environments; a case study: the Gulf of Trieste. Science of The Total Environment 237–238:43–56 doi:http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1016/S0048-9697(99)00123-0
  22. IPCS (2004) Harmonization project document no. 1—IPCS risk assessment terminology. WHO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  23. JECFA (2004) Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants, sixty-first meeting of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, WHO Food AdditivesGoogle Scholar
  24. JECFA (2010) Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants: seventy-second report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food AdditivesGoogle Scholar
  25. Jedrychowski W et al (2007) Fish consumption in pregnancy, cord blood mercury level and cognitive and psychomotor development of infants followed over the first three years of life: Krakow epidemiologic study. Environ Int 33:1057–1062. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2007.06.001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kris-Etherton PM, Harris WS, Appel LJ, Committee ftN (2002) Fish consumption, fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids, and cardiovascular disease. Circulation 106:2747–2757. doi: 10.1161/01.cir.0000038493.65177.94 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lederman SA et al (2008) Relation between cord blood mercury levels and early child development in a World Trade Center cohort. Environ Health Perspect 116:1085–1091. doi: 10.1289/ehp.10831 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mahaffey KR et al (2011) Balancing the benefits of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the risks of methylmercury exposure from fish consumption. Nutr Rev 69:493–508. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00415.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Malm O et al (1995) Mercury and methylmercury in fish and human hair from the Tapajós river basin, Brazil. Sci Total Environ 175:141–150. doi: 10.1016/0048-9697(95)04910-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Maycock BJ, Benford DJ (2007) Risk assessment of dietary exposure to methylmercury in fish in the UK. Hum Exp Toxicol 26:185–190. doi: 10.1177/0960327107070565 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mergler D, Anderson HA, Chan LH, Mahaffey KR, Murray M, Sakamoto M, Stern AH (2007) Methylmercury exposure and health effects in humans: a worldwide concern. Ambio 36:3–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Miklavčič A et al (2013) Mercury, arsenic and selenium exposure levels in relation to fish consumption in the Mediterranean area. Environ Res 120:7–17. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2012.08.010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Morel FMM, Kraepiel AML, Amyot M (1998) The chemical cycle and bioaccumulation of mercury. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 29:543–566. doi: 10.2307/221718 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Nesheim MC, Nestle M (2014) Advice for fish consumption: challenging dilemmas. Am J Clin Nutr 99:973–974CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Nielsen SJ, Kit BK, Aoki Y, Ogden CL (2014) Seafood consumption and blood mercury concentrations in adults aged ≥20 y, 2007–2010. Am J Clin Nutr 99:1066–1070. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.077081 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pirrone N et al (2010) Global mercury emissions to the atmosphere from anthropogenic and natural sources. Atmos Chem Phys 10:5951–5964CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Raimundo J, Vale C, Canário J, Branco V, Moura I (2010) Relations between mercury, methyl-mercury and selenium in tissues of Octopus vulgaris from the Portuguese coast. Environ Pollut 158:2094–2100. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2010.03.005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Renzoni A, Zino F, Franchi E (1998) Mercury levels along the food chain and risk for exposed populations. Environ Res 77:68–72. doi: 10.1006/enrs.1998.3832 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rice DC (2004) The US EPA reference dose for methylmercury: sources of uncertainty. Environ Res 95:406–413. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2003.08.013 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rice G, Swartout J, Mahaffey K, Schoeny R (2000) Derivation of US EPA’s oral reference dose (RfD) for methylmercury. Drug Chem Toxicol 23:41–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Selin NE (2009) Global biogeochemical cycling of mercury: a review. Annu Rev Environ Resour 34:43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Streets DG, Zhang Q, Wu Y (2009) Projections of global mercury emissions in 2050. Environ Sci Technol 43:2983–2988. doi: 10.1021/es802474j CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sunderland EM, Selin NE (2013) Future trends in environmental mercury concentrations: implications for prevention strategies. MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global ChangeGoogle Scholar
  44. Sunderland EM, Krabbenhoft DP, Moreau JW, Strode SA, Landing WM (2009) Mercury sources, distribution, and bioavailability in the North Pacific Ocean: insights from data and models. Global Biogeochem Cycles 23:GB2010. doi: 10.1029/2008GB003425 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Suzuki K et al (2010) Neurobehavioral effects of prenatal exposure to methylmercury and PCBs, and seafood intake: neonatal behavioral assessment scale results of Tohoku study of child development. Environ Res 110:699–704. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2010.07.001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. USEPA (1997a) Mercury study report to congress volume IV. An assessment of exposure to mercury in the United States. Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards and Office of Research and Development, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  47. USEPA (1997b) Mercury study report to congress volume V: health effects of mercury and mercury compoundsGoogle Scholar
  48. USEPA (1997c) Mercury study report to congress volume VII: characterization of human health and wildlife risks from mercury exposure in the United States. U.S. Environmental Protection AgencyGoogle Scholar
  49. USEPA (2002) A review of the reference dose and reference concentration processes. Risk Assessment Forum,Washington, DC, USA. EPA/630/P-02/002 FGoogle Scholar
  50. Voegborlo R, Matsuyama A, Adimado A, Akagi H (2010) Head hair total mercury and methylmercury levels in some Ghanaian individuals for the estimation of their exposure to mercury: Preliminary Studies Bulletin of environmental contamination and. Toxicology 84:34–38. doi: 10.1007/s00128-009-9901-7 Google Scholar
  51. WHO (1987) Principles for the safety assessment of food additives and contaminants in food, environmental health criteria, no. 70. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  52. WHO (2003) Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases: report of a joint WHO/FAO expert consultation, 28 January–1 February 2002. World Heath Organization/Food and Agricultural Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  53. WHO (2008) Guidance for identifying populations at risk from mercury exposure. Geneva, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
  54. Wolkin A, Hunt D, Martin C, Caldwell KL, McGeehin MA (2012) Blood mercury levels among fish consumers residing in areas with high environmental burden. Chemosphere 86:967–971. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.11.026 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. C. Vieira
    • 1
  • F. Morgado
    • 2
  • A. M. V. M. Soares
    • 2
  • S. N. Abreu
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Biology and CESAMUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal

Personalised recommendations