11222017Headline:

Salt Lake City, Utah

HomeUtahSalt Lake City

Email Bret Hanna Bret Hanna on LinkedIn Bret Hanna on Twitter Bret Hanna on Facebook Bret Hanna on Avvo
Bret Hanna
Bret Hanna
Attorney • 435-649-2525

When Boating And Fishing, Be Careful

Comments Off

June is boating safety month on InjuryBoard, and fishing goes hand in hand with boating for many people. Fresh caught fish is an important part of a smart diet for many Utahans, but there are some things that should be on the minds of all those who are incorporating fish into their diets. In order to address potential health issues, several Utah governmental agencies have joined together to provide an information clearinghouse.

The clearinghouse offers the following advisories:

Consumption Advisories

Fish Advisories in Utah

Waterfowl Advisories in Utah

National Fish Advisories

Mercury Advisory for Women and Children

Eat Fish, Choose Wisely

Fish are important in a healthy diet. They are a lean, low-calorie source of protein. However, some fish from specific areas in Utah may contain chemicals that could pose health risks. When contaminant levels are unsafe, Utah Public Health Officials issue fish consumption advisories.

These advisories outline recommendations for limiting intake of specific fish at specific locations. Fish advisories have been issued in Utah due to elevated levels of arsenic, mercury and selenium. These advisories are listed by category below.

Choose a Category:

By County By Fish Species By Contaminant By Waterbody

Cache County

A fish consumption advisory was issued on September 30, 2008 due to elevated Mercury levels for brown trout from Porcupine Reservoir in Cache County.

Duchesne County

A fish consumption advisory was issued on September 30, 2008 due to elevated Mercury levels for brown trout from Rock Creek below Upper Stillwater Reservoir in Duchesne County.

Emery County

A fish consumption advisory was issued on April 23, 2007 due to elevated Mercury levels for splake trout from Joe’s Valley Reservoir in Emery County. The advisory was revised/updated on September 30, 2008, see notice below.

Garfield County

A fish consumption advisory was issued on April 23, 2007 due to elevated Mercury levels for brown trout from Calf Creek and Pine Creek in Garfield County. The advisory was revised/updated on September 30, 2008, see notice below.

Green River in Desolation Canyon (Uintah / Carbon Counties)

A fish consumption advisory due to elevated mercury levels was issued November 10, 2005 for the Green River in Desolation Canyon.

Grand County

A fish consumption advisory due to elevated mercury levels was issued August 22, 2005 for Mill Creek in Grand County.

Iron County

A fish consumption advisory was issued on April 23, 2007 due to elevated Mercury levels for rainbow trout from the Newcastle Reservoir in Iron County. The advisory was revised/updated on September 30, 2008, see notice below.

Piute County

A fish consumption advisory was issued on September 30, 2008 due to elevated Mercury levels for brown trout from East Fork Sevier River between Otter Creek and Piute Reservoirs in Piute County.

Summit County

A fish consumption advisory due to elevated arsenic levels was issued October 27, 2004 for Silver Creek in Summit County.

Uintah County

A fish and waterfowl consumption advisory due to elevated selenium was issued August 22, 1991 for the Ashley Creek drainage and Stewart Lake in Uintah County.

Utah County

A fish consumption advisory has been issued for carp and channel catfish found in Utah Lake after state officials found elevated levels of PCBs in the fish.

Click Here for more information

Wasatch County

A fish consumption advisory was issued on April 23, 2007 due to elevated Mercury levels for brown trout from the Jordanelle Reservoir in Wasatch County. The advisory was revised/updated on September 30, 2008 to include smallmouth bass.

Washington County

A fish consumption advisory was issued on April 23, 2007 due to elevated Mercury levels for rainbow trout from the Upper Enterprise Reservoir in Washington County. The advisory was revised/updated on September 30, 2008, see notice below.

A fish consumption advisory due to elevated mercury levels was issued August 22, 2005 for Largemouth Bass from Gunlock Reservoir in Washington County.

A fish consumption advisory was issued on September 30, 2008 due to elevated Mercury levels for largemouth bass from Sand Hollow Reservoir in Washington County.

Weber County

A fish consumption advisory was issued on April 23, 2007 due to elevated mercury levels for brown trout from the Weber River near Morgan, Utah. The advisory was revised/updated on September 30, 2008, see notice below.

Brwon Trout

Brown Trout

Consumption Advisories apply to the following locations:

  • Calf Creek in Garfield County
  • East Fork Sevier River between Otter Creek and Piute Reservoirs in Piute County
  • Jordanelle Reservoir in Wasatch County
  • Mill Creek in Grand County
  • Pine Creek in Garfield County
  • Porcupine Reservoir in Cache County
  • Rock Creek below Upper Stillwater Reservoir in Duchesne County
  • Silver Creek in Summit County (all Trout species)
  • Weber River in Morgan County

Consumption Advisory:

Carp

Carp

Consumption Advisories apply to the following locations:

  • Utah Lake in Utah County

Consumption Advisory:

Catfish

Catfish

Consumption Advisories apply to the following locations:

  • Desolation Canyon in Carbon County
  • Utah Lake in Utah County

Consumption Advisory:

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

Consumption Advisories apply to the following locations:

  • Gunlock Reservoir in Washington County
  • Sand Hollow Reservoir in Washington County

Consumption Advisory:

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout

Consumption Advisories apply to the following locations:

  • Upper Enterprise Reservoir in Washington County
  • Newcastle Reservoir in Iron County
  • Silver Creek in Summit County (all Trout species)

Consumption Advisory:

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass

Consumption Advisories apply to the following locations:

  • Jordanelle Reservoir in Wasatch County

Consumption Advisory:

Splake Trout

Splake Trout

Consumption Advisories apply to the following locations:

  • Joe’s Valley Reservoir in Emery County
  • Silver Creek in Summit County (all Trout species)

Consumption Advisory:

Jump to: Arsenic | Mercury | PCBs | Selenium

Arsenic

Arsenic is a naturally occurring element widely distributed in the earth’s crust. In the environment, arsenic is combined with oxygen, chlorine, and sulfur to form inorganic arsenic compounds. Arsenic in animals and plants combines with carbon and hydrogen to form organic arsenic compounds.

Inorganic arsenic compounds are mainly used to preserve wood. Copper chromated arsenic (CCA) is used to make "pressure-treated" lumber. CCA is no longer used in the U.S. for residential uses; it is still used in industrial applications. Organic arsenic compounds are used as pesticides, primarily on cotton plants.

Click Here for more Information (from the ATSDR web site)

Click to view information on fish species and waterbodies affected by this contaminant

Mercury

Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in air, water and soil. It exists in several forms: elemental or metallic mercury, inorganic mercury compounds, and organic mercury compounds. Elemental or metallic mercury is a shiny, silver-white metal and is liquid at room temperature. It is used in thermometers, fluorescent light bulbs and some electrical switches. When dropped, elemental mercury breaks into smaller droplets which can go through small cracks or become strongly attached to certain materials. At room temperature, exposed elemental mercury can evaporate to become an invisible, odorless toxic vapor. People can be exposed to elemental mercury vapor when products that contain mercury break and expose mercury to the air, particularly in poorly-ventilated spaces.

Inorganic mercury compounds take the form of mercury salts and are generally white powder or crystals, with the exception of mercuric sulfide (cinnabar) which is red. Inorganic mercury compounds have been included in products such as fungicides, antiseptics or disinfectants. Some skin lightening and freckle creams, as well as some traditional medicines, can contain mercury compounds.

Organic mercury compounds, such as methylmercury, are formed when mercury combines with carbon. Microscopic organisms convert inorganic mercury into methylmercury, which is the most common organic mercury compound found in the environment. Methylmercury accumulates up the food chain.

Click Here for more Information (from the ATSDR web site)

Click to view information on fish species and waterbodies affected by this contaminant

PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are synthetic organic chemicals comprising 209 individual chlorinated biphenyl compounds (known as congeners). Exposure to each of these compounds is associated with different levels of risk for harmful effects. There are no known natural sources of PCBs. Although PCBs are no longer manufactured in the United States, people can still be exposed to them. The two main sources of exposure to PCBs are the environment and the workplace. Due to resistance to degradation, PCBs persist in the environment for decades.

Recent studies conducted in the Great Lakes basin indicate that a) fish consumption remains the major route of exposure to PCBs and b) health consequences are associated with these exposures. The following summary identifies those groups at risk because of exposure to PCBs and summarizes recently published information on exposure, sociodemographics, and health findings for these groups.

Click Here for more Information (from the ATSDR web site)

Click to view information on fish species and waterbodies affected by this contaminant

Selenium

Selenium is a naturally occurring substance that is toxic at high concentrations but is also a nutritionally essential element. Hydrogen selenide is the most acutely toxic selenium compound. Acute (short-term) exposure to elemental selenium, hydrogen selenide, and selenium dioxide by inhalation results primarily in respiratory effects, such as irritation of the mucous membranes, pulmonary edema, severe bronchitis, and bronchial pneumonia. Epidemiological studies of humans chronically (long-term) exposed to high levels of selenium in food and water have reported discoloration of the skin, pathological deformation and loss of nails, loss of hair, excessive tooth decay and discoloration, lack of mental alertness, and listlessness. Epidemiological studies have reported an inverse association between selenium levels in the blood and cancer occurrence and animal studies have reported that selenium supplementation, as sodium selenate, sodium selenite, and organic forms of selenium, results in a reduced incidence of several tumor types. The only selenium compound that has been shown to be carcinogenic in animals is selenium sulfide, which resulted in an increase in liver tumors from oral exposure. EPA has classified elemental selenium as a Group D, not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity, and selenium sulfide as a Group B2, probable human carcinogen.

Click Here for more Information (from the ATSDR web site)

Click to view information on fish species and waterbodies affected by this contaminant

* Waterbodies are listed alphabetically *

Calf Creek in Garfield County, Utah

Desolation Canyon in Carbon County, Utah

East Fork Sevier River between Otter Creek and Piute Reservoirs in Piute County, Utah

Gunlock Reservoir in Washington County, Utah

Joe’s Valley Reservoir in Emery County, Utah

Jordanelle Reservoir in Wasatch County, Utah

Lower Ashley Creek drainage and Stewart Lake in Uintah County, Utah

Mill Creek in Grand County, Utah

Newcastle Reservoir in Iron County, Utah

Pine Creek in Garfield County, Utah

Porcupine Reservoir in Cache County, Utah

Rock Creek below Upper Stillwater Reservoir in Duchesne County, Utah

Sand Hollow Reservoir in Washington County, Utah

Silver Creek in Summit County, Utah

Upper Enterprise Reservoir in Washington County, Utah

Utah Lake in Utah County, Utah

Weber River in Morgan County, Utah

Mercury Advisory for Women and Children

What You Need to Know About Mercury In Fish and Shellfish

Advice from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to:

  • Women Who Might Become Pregnant
  • Women Who are Pregnant
  • Nursing Mothers
  • Young Children

Nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of mercury. For most people, the risk from mercury by eating fish and shellfish is not a health concern. Yet, some fish and shellfish contain higher levels of mercury that may harm an unborn baby or young child’s developing nervous system. The risks from mercury in fish and shellfish depend on the amount of fish and shellfish eaten and the levels of mercury in the fish and shellfish. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are advising women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children to avoid some types of fish and eat fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.

3 Safety Tips

By following these 3 recommendations for selecting and eating fish or shellfish, women and young children will receive the benefits of eating fish and shellfish and be confident that they have reduced their exposure to the harmful effects of mercury.

  1. Do not eat:
    • Shark
    • Swordfish
    • King Mackerel
    • Tilefish
    • They contain high levels of mercury.
  2. Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.
    • Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are:
      • shrimp
      • canned light tuna
      • salmon
      • pollock
      • catfish
    • Another commonly eaten fish, albacore ("white") tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week.
  3. Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. If no advice is available, eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) per week of fish you catch from local waters, but don’t consume any other fish during that week.

Follow these same recommendations when feeding fish and shellfish to your young child, but serve smaller portions.

Visit the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Website http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/list.html or the Environmental Protection Agency’s Fish Advisory Website www.epa.gov/ost/fish for a listing of mercury levels in fish.

It also offers the following health risk outline and eating guidelines:

Health Risks

Safe Eating Guideline for fish you catch

Contaminants Overview

Eat Fish, Choose Wisely
Safe Eating Guideline for fish you catch
Waterbody County Contaminant

Species

Pregnant Women & Children
*4 oz. meals/month
Adults
8 oz. meals/month

Calf Creek

Garfield Mercury Brown Trout 2 2

Desolation Canyon

Carbon Mercury Catfish 1 2
East Fork Sevier River between Otter Creek and Piute Reservoirs Piute Mercury Brown Trout Avoid Consumption 2

Gunlock Reservoir

Washington Mercury Largemouth Bass 1 2

Joe’s Valley Reservoir

Emery Mercury Splake Trout
(greater than 12")
Avoid Consumption 1

Jordanelle Reservoir

Wasatch Mercury Brown Trout

Smallmouth Bass

1

Avoid Consumption

2

2

Lower Ashley Creek drainage & Stewart Lake

Uintah Selenium Fish/Ducks Avoid Consumption No more than 1
6 oz. serving/month

Mill Creek

Grand Mercury Brown Trout 1 3

Newcastle Reservoir

Iron Mercury Rainbow Trout Avoid Consumption 1
Pine Creek Garfield Mercury Brown Trout Avoid Consumption 2
Porcupine Reservoir Cache Mercury Brown Trout Avoid Consumption 1
Rock Creek below Upper Stillwater Reservoir Duchesne Mercury Brown Trout
(greater than 12")
Avoid Consumption 2
Sand Hollow Reservoir Washington Mercury Largemouth Bass Avoid Consumption 2

Silver Creek

Summit Arsenic Trout 1 3

Upper Enterprise Reservoir

Washington Mercury Rainbow Trout Avoid Consumption 1

Utah Lake

Utah PCBs

Carp

Catfish

Avoid Consumption

.5

Weber River

Morgan Mercury Brown Trout Avoid Consumption 2

*4 oz. of raw fish is about the size of one deck of playing cards.

Contaminants Overview

Jump to: Arsenic | Mercury | PCBs | Selenium

Arsenic

Background

Arsenic is a naturally occurring element widely distributed in the earth’s crust. In the environment, arsenic is combined with oxygen, chlorine, and sulfur to form inorganic arsenic compounds. Arsenic in animals and plants combines with carbon and hydrogen to form organic arsenic compounds.

Inorganic arsenic compounds are mainly used to preserve wood. Copper chromated arsenic (CCA) is used to make "pressure-treated" lumber. CCA is no longer used in the U.S. for residential uses; it is still used in industrial applications. Organic arsenic compounds are used as pesticides, primarily on cotton plants.

In the Environment

  • Arsenic occurs naturally in soil and minerals and it therefore may enter the air, water, and land from wind-blown dust and may get into water from runoff and leaching.
  • Arsenic cannot be destroyed in the environment. It can only change its form.
  • Rain and snow remove arsenic dust particles from the air.
  • Many common arsenic compounds can dissolve in water. Most of the arsenic in water will ultimately end up in soil or sediment.
  • Fish and shellfish can accumulate arsenic; most of this arsenic is in an organic form called arsenobetaine that is much less harmful.

Human Exposure

  • Ingesting small amounts present in your food and water or breathing air containing arsenic.
  • Breathing sawdust or burning smoke from wood treated with arsenic.
  • Living in areas with unusually high natural levels of arsenic in rock.
  • Working in a job that involves arsenic production or use, such as copper or lead smelting, wood treating, or pesticide application.

Health Effects

Breathing high levels of inorganic arsenic can give you a sore throat or irritated lungs.

Ingesting very high levels of arsenic can result in death. Exposure to lower levels can cause nausea and vomiting, decreased production of red and white blood cells, abnormal heart rhythm, damage to blood vessels, and a sensation of "pins and needles" in hands and feet.

Ingesting or breathing low levels of inorganic arsenic for a long time can cause a darkening of the skin and the appearance of small "corns" or "warts" on the palms, soles, and torso.

Skin contact with inorganic arsenic may cause redness and swelling.

Organic arsenic compounds are less toxic than inorganic arsenic compounds. Exposure to high levels of some organic arsenic compounds may cause similar effects as inorganic arsenic.

Click Here for more Information (from the ATSDR web site)

Mercury

Background

Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in air, water and soil. It exists in several forms: elemental or metallic mercury, inorganic mercury compounds, and organic mercury compounds. Elemental or metallic mercury is a shiny, silver-white metal and is liquid at room temperature. It is used in thermometers, fluorescent light bulbs and some electrical switches. When dropped, elemental mercury breaks into smaller droplets which can go through small cracks or become strongly attached to certain materials. At room temperature, exposed elemental mercury can evaporate to become an invisible, odorless toxic vapor. People can be exposed to elemental mercury vapor when products that contain mercury break and expose mercury to the air, particularly in poorly-ventilated spaces.

Inorganic mercury compounds take the form of mercury salts and are generally white powder or crystals, with the exception of mercuric sulfide (cinnabar) which is red. Inorganic mercury compounds have been included in products such as fungicides, antiseptics or disinfectants. Some skin lightening and freckle creams, as well as some traditional medicines, can contain mercury compounds.

Organic mercury compounds, such as methylmercury, are formed when mercury combines with carbon. Microscopic organisms convert inorganic mercury into methylmercury, which is the most common organic mercury compound found in the environment. Methylmercury accumulates up the food chain.

Click Here for more Information (from the ATSDR web site)

Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions about Mercury (from the EPA website).

Click here to read advice from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Women Who Might Become Pregnant, Women Who are Pregnant, Nursing Mothers, and Young Children.

3 Safety Tips for selecting and eating fish or shellfish

In the Environment

Mercury can be released in the environment from natural sources, such as volcanic and geothermal activity, marine environments or forest fires, or it can be released from anthropogenic (man-made) sources like coal-fired power plants and other industrial activities. Recent studies suggest that human activity contributes 50-70% of the mercury in the environment globally (EPA Office of Air Quality and Standards Report to Congress, 1997). Once mercury enters the environment, it circulates in and out of the atmosphere until it ends up in the bottoms of lakes and oceans. Mercury is among a group of pollutants called persistent bioaccumulative toxins or PBTs. These pollutants "persist" in the environment, meaning that they do not break down or go away. Mercury cannot be destroyed, it cannot be combusted, and it does not degrade. Mercury also "bioacccumulates" in the environment, meaning it builds up in the food chain over time.

Click Here for more Information (from the ATSDR web site)

Human Exposure

When mercury is deposited in waterways, bacteria convert it to methylmercury. Methylmercury builds up in the tissue of fish, which may then be eaten by wildlife (e.g., eagles, osprey, common loons, river otters, minks) and by people. Because mercury is tightly bound to the fish muscle tissue, there is no method of cooking or preparation that will remove or reduce mercury once it is in fish. This doesn’t mean that you should stop eating fish. It is a good source of protein and is low in saturated fat. You can still get the benefits of eating fish by using moderation in how much you eat. The two organ systems most likely affected by methylmercury are the central nervous system and the kidneys. The groups most vulnerable to the effects of mercury toxicity include women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children. The most significant concerns regarding chronic exposure to low concentrations of methylmercury in fish are for neurological effects in the developing fetus and children.

Although human exposure to mercury occurs most frequently through eating contaminated fish, other human exposures to mercury can occur. People have been exposed to mercury from inhaling mercury vapors from broken fluorescent lamps, gas regulators, or even home fever thermometers. There have been cases of mercury exposures from accidental swallowing, but these cases are rare.

Click Here for more Information (from the ATSDR web site)

Health Effects

Mercury (Hg) is a naturally occurring metal found throughout the environment. It is a liquid at room temperature, combines easily with other metals and expands and contracts evenly with temperature changes. Because of these properties, mercury has been used in many household, medical and industrial products. Although mercury performs many useful functions in our workplaces and homes, it is toxic and can impair our health. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin, meaning that it interferes with the way nerve cells function. Mercury poisoning causes a decreased ability to see, hear, talk and walk. It can cause personality changes, depression, irritability, nervousness, and the inability to concentrate. It can also cause damage to the brain, kidneys, and lungs. Mercury is a particularly serious problem for pregnant women and children. Fetuses and young children suffer the greatest risk because their nervous systems are still developing. They are four to five times more sensitive to mercury than adults.

Click Here for more Information (from the ATSDR web site)

PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)

Background

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are synthetic organic chemicals comprising 209 individual chlorinated biphenyl compounds (known as congeners). Exposure to each of these compounds is associated with different levels of risk for harmful effects. There are no known natural sources of PCBs. Although PCBs are no longer manufactured in the United States, people can still be exposed to them. The two main sources of exposure to PCBs are the environment and the workplace. Due to resistance to degradation, PCBs persist in the environment for decades.

Recent studies conducted in the Great Lakes basin indicate that a) fish consumption remains the major route of exposure to PCBs and b) health consequences are associated with these exposures. The following summary identifies those groups at risk because of exposure to PCBs and summarizes recently published information on exposure, sociodemographics, and health findings for these groups.

Click Here for more Information (from the ATSDR web site)

Human Exposure

Several occupational or epidemiologic studies have indicated or demonstrated other adverse health effects from exposure to PCBs, including cancer and effects on the cardiovascular, hepatic, immune, musculoskeletal, endocrine, gastrointestinal, and dermal systems. Kreiss et al. (1981) have reported a 30% increase over the national average incidence of borderline and definite hypertension observed in a population from Triana, Alabama. Increased serum PCB levels were significantly associated with increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The relationship between serum PCB levels and systolic blood pressure disappeared when serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels were considered, but the association between PCB and diastolic blood pressure remained significant. Consumption of contaminated fish was considered the primary source of PCB exposure.

Click Here for more Information (from the ATSDR web site)

Health Effects

Recent findings indicate that susceptible populations (e.g., certain ethnic groups, sport anglers, the elderly, pregnant women, children, fetuses, and nursing infants) continue to be exposed to PCBs via fish and wildlife consumption. Human health studies discussed in this summary indicate that: 1) repro-ductive function may be disrupted by exposure to PCBs; 2) neurobehavioral and developmental deficits occur in newborns and continue through school-aged children who had in utero exposure to PCBs; 3) other systemic effects (e.g., self-reported liver disease and diabetes, and effects on the thyroid and immune systems) are associated with elevated serum levels of PCBs; and 4) increased cancer risks, e.g., non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, are associated with PCB exposures.

Click Here for more Information (from the ATSDR web site)

Selenium

Background

Selenium is a naturally occurring substance that is toxic at high concentrations but is also a nutritionally essential element. Hydrogen selenide is the most acutely toxic selenium compound. Acute (short-term) exposure to elemental selenium, hydrogen selenide, and selenium dioxide by inhalation results primarily in respiratory effects, such as irritation of the mucous membranes, pulmonary edema, severe bronchitis, and bronchial pneumonia. Epidemiological studies of humans chronically (long-term) exposed to high levels of selenium in food and water have reported discoloration of the skin, pathological deformation and loss of nails, loss of hair, excessive tooth decay and discoloration, lack of mental alertness, and listlessness. Epidemiological studies have reported an inverse association between selenium levels in the blood and cancer occurrence and animal studies have reported that selenium supplementation, as sodium selenate, sodium selenite, and organic forms of selenium, results in a reduced incidence of several tumor types. The only selenium compound that has been shown to be carcinogenic in animals is selenium sulfide, which resulted in an increase in liver tumors from oral exposure. EPA has classified elemental selenium as a Group D, not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity, and selenium sulfide as a Group B2, probable human carcinogen.

Click Here for more Information (from the ATSDR web site)

Human Exposure

  • Food is the primary source of exposure to selenium, with an estimated selenium intake for the U.S. population ranging from 0.071 to 0.152 milligrams per day (mg/d). (1)
  • Humans are usually exposed to very low levels of selenium in air, with an average selenium concentration estimated to be below 10 nanograms per cubic meter (ng/m3). (1)
  • Drinking water usually contains selenium at very low levels (usually less than 0.01 milligrams per liter [mg/L]). However, occasionally, higher levels of selenium may be found in drinking water, usually in areas where high levels of selenium in soil contribute to the selenium content of the water. (1)
  • Occupational exposure to selenium in the air may occur in the metal industries, selenium-recovery processes, painting, and special trades. (1)

Assessing Personal Exposure

  • Selenium can be measured in the blood, urine, and fingernails or toenails of exposed individuals.
    (1)

Click Here for more Information (from the ATSDR web site)

Health Effects

Acute Effects:

  • Acute exposure of humans via inhalation to selenium compounds (selenium dioxide, hydrogen selenide) results primarily in respiratory effects. Acute inhalation exposure to elemental selenium dust results in irritation of the mucous membranes in the nose and throat, producing coughing, nosebleeds, dyspnea, bronchial spasms, bronchitis, and chemical pneumonia. (1)
  • Gastrointestinal effects including vomiting and nausea; cardiovascular effects; neurological effects such as headaches and malaise; and irritation of the eyes were reported in humans acutely exposed to selenium compounds via inhalation. (1)
  • Acute human exposure to selenium compounds via the oral route has resulted in pulmonary edema and lesions of the lung; cardiovascular effects such as tachycardia; gastrointestinal effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain; effects on the liver; and neurological effects such as aches, irritability, chills, and tremors. (1,2)
  • "Blind staggers" disease is a disease in livestock that results from acute consumption of plants high in selenium. It is characterized by impaired vision, aimless wandering behavior, reduced consumption of food and water, and paralysis. (1,2,4)
  • Acute animal tests in rats, mice, and guinea pigs, have shown hydrogen selenide to have extreme toxicity from inhalation exposure, sodium selenite to have extreme toxicity from oral exposure, and elemental selenium to have low toxicity from oral exposure. (1,3)

Click Here for more Information (from the ATSDR web site)

References:

  1. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Toxicological Profile for Selenium (Update). Public Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, GA. 1996.
  2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Final Draft for the Drinking Water Criteria Document for Selenium. Criteria and Standards Division. Office of Drinking Water, Washington, D.C. 1986.
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS, online database). National Toxicology Information Program, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD. 1993.
  4. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) on Selenium and Compounds. National Center for Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development, Washington, D.C. 1999.

One can also consult the clearinghouse site for a detailed map with areas of concerns highlighted and for answers to frequently asked questions. The message, however, is not one of fear or panic about fish consumption, but rather be informed and make safe food choices.