Abstracts

Spatial and temporal trends for mercury concentrations in fish from three north Mississippi lakes and human health risk assessment

Author(s): Willett, K.; Cizdziel, J.; Meals, K.; Brewer, S.; Thornton, C.

Total mercury (Hg) concentrations were determined in the skeletal muscle of 310 fish collected during 2013 and 2014 from three northern Mississippi lakes (Sardis, Enid and Grenada) that are extensively used for fishing and recreation. Largemouth Bass (LMB), Channel Catfish (CC), White Crappie (WC), and Gizzard Shad (GS), that represent a range of trophic levels, were studied. Creel data indicated anglers harvested 372,711 kg of WC, 26,735 kg of CC, and 14,871 kg of LMB, the three most targeted species of fish, from the lakes. Median Hg concentrations (ng/g) were highest in LMB (443, n=64), followed by CC (211, n=72), WC (192, n=101), and GS (49, n=73). Fish-Hg concentrations were lower than those reported in fish >10 years ago, but there were significant differences between lakes consistent across species. Grenada fish-Hg concentrations were higher than those from Enid and Sardis. Because existing consumption advisories for CC are length-based, the lack of a significant relationship between length and Hg concentration indicated that the recommendations may not be protective enough. Furthermore, five different risk assessment paradigms yielded hazard quotient values suggesting that existing fish consumption advisories may be insufficient to protect adults, and especially children, from exposure to Hg.

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