Date of Original Version
A small proportion of fishery products contaminated with appreciable amounts of potentially hazardous inorganic and organic contaminants from natural and environmental sources seem to pose the greatest potential for toxicity to consumers of fishery products in the United States. Health risks due to chemicals (e.g., A small proportion of fishery products contaminated with appreciable amounts of potentially hazardous inorganic and organic contaminants from natural and environmental sources seem to pose the greatest potential for toxicity to consumers of fishery products in the United States. Health risks due to chemicals (e.g., modest changes in the overall risk of cancer, subtle deficits of neurological development in fetuses and children) are difficult to measure directly in people exposed to low levels. Immunocompetence may increase cancer risk. Inferences about the potential magnitude of these problems must be based on the levels of specific chemical present, observations of human populations and experimental animals exposed to relatively high doses, and theories about the likely mechanisms of action of specific intoxicants and the population distribution of sensitivity of human exposure. Lognormal distributions were found to provide good descriptions of the pattern of variation of contaminant concentrations among different species and geographic areas; this variability offers a solution for reduction of exposure through restricting harvest of aquatic animals from certain sites and by excluding certain species. Available information suggest that risks are not generally of high magnitude; nevertheless, their control will significantly improve public health. The following recommendations will help to reduce risk to humans: existing state and Federal regulations and environmental monitoring must be strengthened and enforced to improve the quality of the environment; a program of shared responsibility where Federal agencies develop a set of monitoring and inspection practices and state governments are responsible for site closures and issuing advisories should be established; research and public education by government agencies and health professionals should be expanded; mandatory labeling should be considered for specific contaminants; and a better system requiring international agreements should be developed to identify country of origin of imported fishery products and to harmonize product safety and quality.
Ahmed, F. E., Hattis, D., Wolke, R. E., & Steinman, D. (1993). Human Health Risks Due to Consumption of Chemically Contaminated Fishery Products. Environmental Health Perspectives, 101(Suppl. 3), 297-302. doi: 10.1289/ehp.93101s3297
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.93101s3297
Reproduced with permission from Environmental Health Perspectives.