Mercury Contamination in Fish - Research Paper Example

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The paper illustrates how mercury in fish poses significant environmental hazards in the U.S and Bangladesh. The paper compares how these two countries are affected by this environmental challenge…
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Mercury Contamination in Fish
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Download file to see previous pages The paper is based on two studies carried out in Bangladesh and the U.S. In the first study, Rees et al. (2007) aimed at elucidating how toenail mercury is related to dietary fish consumption in New Hampshire. In the second study (Bangladesh study), Shamshad, Shahidur, and Tasrena, (2009) focused on determining the level of trace elements (including mercury) in fish feed and shrimp sampled from aquaculture ponds.
Mercury is an established heavy metal, environmental pollutant with deleterious health effects in human beings (Eisler, 2006). Mercury toxins lead to neurological impairment in humans (National Research Council, 1978). Mercury in contaminated fish food consumed by pregnant women may affect the unborn baby’s brain and nervous system. Children who were affected by mercury while in the womb have poor cognitive thinking and memory and reduced concentration (Health Effects, 2012). Studies have proved that adults, children and developing fetuses are in danger of mercury intoxication (National Research Council, 1978). Schmitt, Stricker and Brumbaugh (2011, p. 1) argue that methyl mercury concentrations in some U.S species of fish (Micropterus dolomieu and Hypentelium nigricans) “are significantly high to represent a threat to human health and wildlife”. The U.S has a high risk of suffering from mercury intoxication consumed from fish compared to Bangladesh, in spite of Bangladesh having more fish than the U.S. Studies on mercury intoxication are essential because they enable stake holders to devise preventative measures. Thus, this paper examines the effect of mercury toxins in fish in Bangladesh and the U.S. The graph below is an example showing comparing levels of mercury in blood lead and the risk for autism in children. The graph indicates a significant correlation between the two variables. Figure 1: Graph indicating the distribution of Hg levels in ‘charge children’, comparing four groups: regressive autism, autism of early onset, general population controls and developmentally delayed children. Source: http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/display.highlight/abstract/1773/report/F Materials and Methods The Bangladesh study assessed the level of trace elements content in fish feed and shrimp sampled from aquaculture ponds in Bangladesh by the use of Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (FAAS), Cold Vapor Absorption Spectrometer (CV-AAS), and Hydride Generation Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (HG-AAS). The study was based on the theoretical assumption that since tannery and poultry waste are used as fish feed in Bangladesh, there is an accumulation of toxic contaminants in cultured fish posing food safety risk. Toxic metals including mercury are used in the manufacture of tanneries, dye production, textile dying and paper and pulp mills. Two samples of Shrimp and twelve samples of the feed were collected from different aquaculture sites in Bangladesh. The sample was washed by de-ionized water and then air-dried. They were then analyzed using FAAS, CV-AAS and HG-AAS (Shamshad, Shahidur, & Tasrena, 2009). The American study was conducted as follows: method one; participants observed a 3 day diary of water and seafood consumption which facilitated the calculation of the average consumption of finfish and shell fish on a weekly basis. Method two; the average weekly consumption of fish (shell fish, tuna and dark fish) was estimated using semi quantitative food frequency questionnaire. Method three; the weekly consumpti ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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