PCB and heavy metal residues in livers and muscles of winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus) from Rhode Island waters

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A total of 414 Winter Flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus), a bottom-dwelling fish, were caught from Warwick Neck. Whale Rock (both in Narragansett Bay) and Quonochontaug Pond (a southern coastal lagoon) of Rhode Island for the analysis of pollutants. Residues of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), Pb (lead), Cd (cadmium), Hg (mercury) and As (arsenic) were determined on individual or pooled liver and muscle samples of the species. Mean concentrations of all the analyzed pollutants for liver and muscle from Warwick Neck (near the mouth of the Providence River) considered as a relatively polluted area, were ranked highest among the three sites. The relationship between different seasons or collecting sites and PCB or Pb residues in both tissues were statistically significant (p < 0.05). Levels of PCB residues in the liver and muscle were also found to be correlated (p < 0.05) with the fish body size (length and weight). PCB and Hg residues in the muscle were all below the US FDA tolerance levels of 2.0 and 1.0 μg g-1 (wet wt), respectively.

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Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry