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Mar Pollut Bull. 2001 Mar;42(3):224-32.

Trace metals in fish and invertebrates of three California coastal Wetlands.

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Department of Environmental Health Sciences and Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772, USA.


Metal concentrations were measured in selected fish and invertebrate species from Mugu Lagoon, Malibu Lagoon and Ballona Wetlands in southern California in order to assess the extent of metal contamination in these three wetlands. Ranges of element concentrations (in microgram/g) found in biota were: Zn 12-650; Cu 1.9-440; Ni < 1-37; Cr < 1-55; Pb < 0.5-6.8; As < 1-8.5; Se < 1-3.8; Cd < 0.2-0.90; and Ag < 0.3-5.9. Relative to previous studies of California biota, the highest metal concentrations found were for chromium and nickel. The highest levels were in one of the two bottom-dwelling fish (juvenile Leptocottus armatus) (55 micrograms/g) and the two water-column fish sampled (Fundulus parvipinnis and Atherinops affinis) (30 and 24 micrograms/g). At Ballona Lagoon, elevated levels of copper and silver were found in the bivalve Tagelus californianus (440 and 5.9 micrograms/g). Chromium and nickel appeared to be most persistent in fish from Mugu (4.6-55 and 2.6-37 micrograms/g), the most northern site and an active military base, and Ballona (< 1-30 and < 1-16 micrograms/g), believed to be the most metal-contaminated site. Compared to previously measured metal concentrations in species of California coastal waters, these regions revealed higher levels of chromium, nickel, silver, arsenic, zinc, copper and, to a lesser extent, cadmium and selenium. Chromium and silver were present at high enough levels at all three sites to be considered environmental health hazards.

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