The study, abstract number 157770, found higher-than-Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-recommended levels of mercury and elevated levels of selenium in channel catfish caught in a rural area upstream of Pittsburgh and downwind from a coal-fired power plant. Both mercury and selenium are well-known contaminants of coal burning for power generation. The results will be presented at a special session on “Contaminants in Freshwater Fish: Toxicity, Sources and Risk Communication,” at 8:30 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 7.
To complete the study, researchers recruited local anglers to catch channel catfish from the three rivers area of Pittsburgh and from Kittanning, Pa., an area 40 miles upstream of Pittsburgh. The three rivers area includes the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers. Based on testing of 63 fish, they found that Kittanning and three rivers area fish had 19 and 3.1 times more mercury, respectively, than store-bought fish. They also found significantly higher levels of mercury and selenium in the Kittanning-caught fish than in the fish caught in the three rivers area.
Results showed that the risk of developing neurological disorders from ingesting catfish with such high levels of mercury as those caught near Kittanning were eight times higher than the EPA’s acceptable risk for children under six years of age; seven times higher for children between seven and 16 years of age; and six times higher for women of child-bearing age. For the general population, this risk was five times higher than the EPA’s acceptable risk. The results also indicated to the researchers that fish can be used as bio-sensors to locate and find sources of area pollution.
“Given these results, we should be concerned about fish caught in areas that are situated close to coal-fired power plants, even if upstream from more heavily polluted areas,” said Conrad D. Volz, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., principal investigator, department of environmental and occupational health, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. “These types of power plants may be significant sources of mercury and selenium in fish contamination. We believe it is important for fish consumption advisories to take into account industries such as power plants that may be important sources of water pollution, and warn people in these areas about the dangers of consuming local fish.”
Ingestion of fish with high levels of mercury has been linked to neurological and developmental problems and birth defects.
Clare Collins | EurekAlert!
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
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