John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Mercury and other trace elements in Ohio River fish collected near coal‐fired power plants: Interspecific patterns and consideration of consumption risks

0
Many coal‐fired electric generating facilities in the US are discharging higher loads of Hg, Se, and other chemicals to receiving streams due to the installation of flue gas desulfurization (FGD) air pollution control units. There are regulatory concerns about the potential increased uptake of these bioaccumulative trace elements into food webs. We evaluated the concentrations of As, THg, MeHg, and Se in Ohio River fish collected proximal to coal‐fired power plants, of which 75% operate FGD systems. Fillet samples (N = 50) from six fish species representing three trophic levels were analyzed. Geometric mean fillet concentrations of THg (wet wt.), MeHg (wet wt.), and Se (dry wt.) in three species were 0.136, 0.1181, and 3.19 mg/kg (sauger); 0.123, 0.1013, and 1.56 mg/kg (channel catfish); and 0.127, 0.0914, and 3.30 mg/kg (hybrid striped bass). For all species analyzed, only three fillet samples (6% of total) had MeHg concentrations that exceeded the USEPA human health criterion (0.3 mg/kg wet wt.); all of these were freshwater drum aged ≥19 years. None of the samples analyzed exceeded the USEPA proposed muscle and whole body Se thresholds for protection against reproductive effects in freshwater fish. All but eight fillet samples had a total As concentration less than 1.0 mg/kg dry wt. Mean Se health benefit values (HBVSe) for all species were ≥ 4, indicating that potential mercury‐related health risks associated with consumption of Ohio River fish are likely to be offset by adequate Se concentrations. Overall, we observed no measurable evidence of enhanced trace element bioaccumulation associated with proximity to power plant FGD facilities, however some enhanced bioaccumulation could have occurred in the wastewater mixing zones. Furthermore, available evidence indicates that, due to hydraulic and physical factors, the main stem Ohio River appears to have low net Hg methylation potential. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

Customer comments

No comments were found for Mercury and other trace elements in Ohio River fish collected near coal‐fired power plants: Interspecific patterns and consideration of consumption risks. Be the first to comment!