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Environ Pollut. 2007 Jan;145(2):474-88. Epub 2006 Jul 25.

Accumulation of organic and inorganic contaminants in shellfish collected in estuarine waters near Pensacola, Florida: contamination profiles and risks to human consumers.

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  • 1Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation, University of West Florida, 11000 University Parkway, Pensacola, FL 32514, USA.


We conducted a screening level assessment of contaminants in blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) and oysters (Crassostrea virginica) from bays and bayous in the Pensacola, FL area. Tissue samples were analyzed for 17 dioxins/furans, 12 dioxin-like PCB (DL-PCBs) congeners, mercury, and various metals. Contaminant levels were compared to screening values (SV) calculated using U.S. EPA recommendations for establishing consumption advisories. All sampling locations exceeded the SV (0.098pgg(-1)) for dioxins/furans/DL-PCBs, based on a Florida-specific consumption rate (46gday(-1)). Arsenic (inorganic), mercury, cadmium, and zinc levels exceeded SVs in samples from select locations, and with the exception of mercury, these locations were generally downstream of known contaminated areas. We also assessed potential human health risks from consumption of these species. Risks to human health were greatest from consumption of crab hepatopancreas, suggesting that consumption of hepatopancreas, whether directly or indirectly, from crabs collected anywhere in the Pensacola Bay region should be avoided.

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