Ingestion of Contaminated Fish and Shellfish

We not only have to be concerned with the intake of pollutants from water, but also with foods that come from polluted water sources. Aquatic species often accumulate pollutants into their muscle and organ tissue, which we use for food. Thus, significant doses of pollutants can result from eating these polluted organisms. A recently discovered example is the presence of mercury in several species, especially those at the top of the food chain. The dose of a pollutant can be calculated by where CF is the pollutant concentration in the fish or shellfish (mg/kg), IR is the ingestion rate (kg/meal) [suggested values: 0.284 kg/meal (90th percentile for fin fish; Pao et al., 1982), 0.113kg/meal (50th percentile for fin fish; Pao et al., 1982), 132 g/day (95th percentile daily intakes averaged over 3 days for consumers of fin fish; Pao et al., 1982), 38g/day (50th percentile daily intake, averaged over 3 days for consumers of fin fish; Pao et al., 1982), 6.5 g/day (daily intake averaged over a year; EPA 1989b); other specific values for age, sex, race, region, and other fish species are available in EPA (1989b)], FI is the fraction of the daily fish intake from the polluted source (a case-specific value), EF is the exposure frequency (meals/year) [general value: 48 days/year (average per capita for fish and shellfish; EPA, 1989d)], ED is the exposure duration [for lifetime exposure use 70 years, for 30 years at one residence (national upper-bound time (90th percentile); EPA, 1989b), for 9 years at one residence (national median time (50th percentile); EPA, 1989b)], BW is the body weight (kg) [70 kg for an average adult (EPA, 1989b); for age-specific values see EPA (1989b)], and AT is the period of exposure (for noncarcinogenic effects use ED x 365 days/year, for carcinogenic effects use 70 years x 365 days/year).

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