Biomonitoring of populations in Western New York at risk for exposure to Great Lakes contaminants


The New York State Department of Health conducted the Healthy Fishing Communities Program in collaboration with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to assess human exposure to contaminants common to Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and surrounding rivers and waterways among populations in western New York State who eat locally caught fish. The program enrolled licensed anglers and Burmese refugees and immigrants, living near four designated Great Lakes Areas of Concern: Buffalo River, Niagara River, Eighteenmile Creek, and the Rochester Embayment. These target populations were sampled and enrolled independently into the program between February and October of 2013. A core set of contaminants were measured in blood and urine of 409 licensed anglers and 206 Burmese refugees and immigrants which included lead, cadmium, mercury, PCBs, PBDEs, organochlorine pesticides (hexachlorobenzene, mirex, DDT, DDE, and chlordane and its metabolites oxychlordane and trans-Nonachlor), and PFOS and PFOA. Biomonitoring results showed that both groups had higher geometric means for blood lead, total blood mercury, and serum PFOS compared to the 2013-2014 NHANES reference levels. The Burmese refugee group also showed higher geometric means for creatinine-adjusted urine mercury and lipid-adjusted serum DDE compared to national levels. Licensed angler participants reported eating a median of 16 locally caught fish meals in the past year. Burmese participants consumed local fish throughout the year, and most frequently in the summer (median 39 fish meals or 3 times a week). The study results provide valuable information on populations at high risk of exposure to contaminants in the Great Lakes Basin of western New York. The results provide the foundation for developing and implementing public health actions to reduce potential exposures to Great Lakes pollutants.

Authors: Savadatti SS, Liu M, Caglayan C, Reuther J, Lewis-Michl EL, Aldous KM, Parsons PJ, Kannan K, Rej R, Wang W, Palmer CD, Steuerwald AJ, Wattigney WA, Irvin-Barnwell E, Hwang SA.
; Full Source: Environmental Research. 2019 Aug 27;179(Pt A):108690. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.108690. [Epub ahead of print]