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Reducing Mercury exposure from Fish in the Great Lakes . Nathan Reynolds Introduction to Nutrition IMPH 2013-2014. Comprised of 5 Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario 1/5 of the world’s fresh water Bound by 8 States and 1 Province

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reducing mercury exposure from fish in the great lakes

Reducing Mercury exposure from Fish in the Great Lakes

Nathan Reynolds

Introduction to Nutrition

IMPH 2013-2014

geographical context

Comprised of 5 Lakes

Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario

  • 1/5 of the world’s fresh water
  • Bound by 8 States and 1 Province
    • Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio Pennsylvania and New York
    • Ontario
Geographical Context
history

Steam ships started navigating the Great Lakes waterways in 1816

Initially transported timber, fur, grain, meat products, dairy, minerals, copper

By the late 19th and 20th century, the Great Lakes region was known as the “Industrial Belt” of America

Heavy metal mining, automobile manufacturing, steel smelting and oil refining were integral parts of the economy

Utilized steam ships and coal-powered locomotives to carry products to New England

Mercury as a waste product

History
mercury trends in great lakes
Mercury Trends in Great Lakes

Source: McGoldrick, D., Clark, M., and Murphy, E. 2012. "Contaminants in Whole Fish", In: U.S. EPA and Environment Canada. 2012. State of the Great Lakes 2012

biomagnification

The tendency for the concentration of a substance to increase based on food chain energetics and life longevity of species

Predatory Great Lake Fish types

  • Lake Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Bass
  • Walleye
bioMagnification
average ppm of mercury in popular sport fish

High

Moderate

Average ppm of mercury in popular sport fish

Source: University of Toledo. www.eng.utoledo.edu/aprg/courses/dm/risk/tablefigmercpaper.pdf

health hazards

Once contaminated fish are consumed, methylmercury is readily absorbed. It binds to L-Cysteine, forming a Methylmercury-Cysteine (MeHg-Cys) conjugate, which can easily translocate the Blood-Brain Barrier via amino acid carriers

  • Accumulation of mercury in neural tissue
  • Passes through placenta to developing fetus and can cause

Cognitive impairment, primitive reflexes and hyperkinesia

  • Exposure in infants and children can cause

Poorer neurological status, impaired development, impaired motor skill development

Health Hazards

Source: Kerper LE, Ballatori N and Clarkson TW. Methylmercury transport across the blood-brain barrier by an amino acid carrier. Am J Physiol. 1992;262(5 pt2):R761-5.

Mergler D, Anderson HA, Chan LHM, Mahaffey KR, Murray M, Sakamoto M and Stern AH. Methylmercury Exposure and Health Effects in Humans: A Worldwide Concern. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. 2007; 36(1):3-11.

risk group

Distribution of blood THg (μg/L), by reported frequency of fish consumption in 30 days, women aged 16-49 years, NHANES 1999-2010

Risk Group

Source: Environmental Protection Agency. Trends in Blood Mercury Concentrations and Fish Consumption Among U.S. Women of Childbearing Age NHANES, 1999-2010. 2013.