High organochlorine concentrations have been found among the Inuit in eastern Canada and in Greenland. The present study was undertaken to assess the exposure to organochlorines in relation to age, sex, and diet in a general population sample of Inuit from Greenland. Survey data and plasma concentrations of 14 polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners and 16 pesticides, including 5 toxaphene congeners, were recorded in a random population survey of 408 adult indigenous Greenlanders. In a two-stage design, the survey response rate was 66%, and 90% of those randomly selected for blood testing participated. This was equivalent to an overall response rate of 59%. The median plasma concentration of the sum of PCB congeners was 13.3 microg/L; the lipid-adjusted value was 2109 microg/kg. The PCB concentration was twice as high as among the Inuit of Nunavik, Canada, 25 times higher than in a control group from southern Canada, and several times higher than the values found in European studies. Concentrations were similarly elevated for all PCB congeners and pesticides. The PCB congener pattern was similar to previous observations from the eastern Canadian Arctic and Greenland. Concentrations showed statistically significant positive associations with age, marine diet, and male sex in multiple linear regression analyses. The exceptionally high plasma concentrations of several organochlorines among the Inuit of Greenland are attributed to a lifelong high intake of seafood, in particular marine mammals. Concentrations of PCB adjusted for the consumption of marine food increased until approximately 40 yr of age, which is equivalent to the birth cohorts of the early 1950s. The age pattern indicates that bioaccumulation of PCB started in the 1950s, which is a likely date for the introduction of the compounds into the Arctic environment.
To examine biomarkers of methylmercury (MeHg) intake in women and infants from seafood-consuming populations globally and characterize the comparative risk of fetal developmental neurotoxicity.
A search was conducted of the published literature reporting total mercury (Hg) in hair and blood in women and infants. These biomarkers are validated proxy measures of MeHg, a neurotoxin found primarily in seafood. Average and high-end biomarkers were extracted, stratified by seafood consumption context, and pooled by category. Medians for average and high-end pooled distributions were compared with the reference level established by a joint expert committee of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Selection criteria were met by 164 studies of women and infants from 43 countries. Pooled average biomarkers suggest an intake of MeHg several times over the FAO/WHO reference in fish-consuming riparians living near small-scale gold mining and well over the reference in consumers of marine mammals in Arctic regions. In coastal regions of south-eastern Asia, the western Pacific and the Mediterranean, average biomarkers approach the reference. Although the two former groups have a higher risk of neurotoxicity than the latter, coastal regions are home to the largest number at risk. High-end biomarkers across all categories indicate MeHg intake is in excess of the reference value.
There is a need for policies to reduce Hg exposure among women and infants and for surveillance in high-risk populations, the majority of which live in low-and middle-income countries.
Cites: Am J Public Health. 2005 Mar;95(3):393-715727965
The public is confused and concerned about the quality of the fish it eats. People worry about chemicals that can accumulate in their bodies. Telling worried people not to worry is seldom an effective risk communication strategy. Unless clear fish consumption
guidelines are issued by credible federal and local agencies, the public is likely to respond by avoiding all fish.
Comment On: American Journal of Public Health. 2005 Mar;95(3):393-397
National fish consumption advisories that are based solely on assessment of risk of exposure to contaminants without consideration of consumption benefits result in overly restrictive advice that discourages eating fish even in areas where such advice is unwarranted. In fact, generic fish advisories may have adverse public health consequences because of decreased fish consumption and substitution of foods that are less healthy. Public health is on the threshold of a new era for determining actual exposures to environmental contaminants, owing to technological advances in analytical chemistry. It is now possible to target fish consumption advice to specific at-risk populations by evaluating individual contaminant exposures and health risk factors. Because of the current epidemic of nutritionally linked disease, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, general recommendations for limiting fish consumption are ill conceived and potentially dangerous.
Comment In: American Journal of Public Health. 2005 Aug;95(8):1304; author reply 1304-1305
Isolates of Listeria monocytogenes (n = 932) isolated in Sweden during 1958-2010 from human patients with invasive listeriosis were characterized by serotyping and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) (AscI). Of the 932 isolates, 183 different PFGE types were identified, of which 83 were each represented by only one isolate. In all, 483 serovar 1/2a isolates were distributed over 114 PFGE types; 90 serovar 1/2b isolates gave 32 PFGE types; 21 serovar 1/2c isolates gave nine PFGE types; three serovar 3b isolates gave one PFGE type; and, 335 serovar 4b isolates gave 31 PFGE types. During the 1980s in Sweden, several serovar 4b cases were associated with the consumption of European raw soft cheese. However, as cheese-production hygiene has improved, the number of 4b cases has decreased. Since 1996, serovar 1/2a has been the dominant L. monocytogenes serovar in human listeriosis in Sweden. Therefore, based on current serovars and PFGE types, an association between human cases of listeriosis and the consumption of vacuum-packed gravad and cold-smoked salmon is suggested.
A probabilistic long-term intake estimation of dioxins was carried out using food consumption data obtained from the National FINDIET 2007 Survey (Paturi et al. 2008). The study population consisted of 606 participants who were first interviewed with a 48-h recall and then filled in a 3-day food record twice. The concentrations of dioxins were obtained from previously published studies. The intake was estimated using a semi-parametric Monte Carlo simulation. The analyses were done separately for the whole study population and for the population excluding energy under-reporters. To diminish the impact of intra-individual variation and nuisance effects, adjustment with software (C-SIDE) was also done after Monte Carlo simulation. It was found that when C-SIDE was used, the 95th percentile of intake and its confidence limit was higher with 2 reporting days than with a higher number of days. However, with a crude intake estimation (no adjustment), the confidence intervals of the 95th percentile were also smaller with a higher number of days, but the 95th percentiles were higher with a higher number of reporting days. When under-reporters were excluded the intakes increased, but the impact of energy under-reporting was smaller with 8 reporting days than with 2 days and smaller using C-SIDE than with a crude estimation. To conclude, adjustment for intra-individual variation and taking energy under-reporting into account are essential for intake estimation of dioxins with food consumption data of a limited number of reporting days.
To examine the association between calculated maternal dietary exposure to Hg in pregnancy and infant birth weight in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa).
Exposure was calculated with use of a constructed database of Hg in food items and reported dietary intake during pregnancy. Multivariable regression models were used to explore the association between maternal Hg exposure and infant birth weight, and to model associations with small-for-gestational-age offspring.
The study is based on data from MoBa.
The study sample consisted of 62 941 women who answered a validated FFQ which covered the habitual diet during the first five months of pregnancy.
Median exposure to Hg was 0·15 µg/kg body weight per week and the contribution from seafood intake was 88 % of total Hg exposure. Women in the highest quintile compared with the lowest quintile of Hg exposure delivered offspring with 34 g lower birth weight (95 % CI -46 g, -22 g) and had an increased risk of giving birth to small-for-gestational-age offspring, adjusted OR = 1·19 (95 % CI 1·08, 1·30). Although seafood intake was positively associated with increased birth weight, stratified analyses showed negative associations between Hg exposure and birth weight within strata of seafood intake.
Although seafood intake in pregnancy is positively associated with birth weight, Hg exposure is negatively associated with birth weight. Seafood consumption during pregnancy should not be avoided, but clarification is needed to identify at what level of Hg exposure this risk might exceed the benefits of seafood.
The authors investigated the accumulation of organochlorines among smoking and nonsmoking Inuit hunters (n = 48) in Uummanaq, Greenland, a population with high dietary exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Human plasma organochlorine levels were positively correlated with age, marine diet, and smoking or plasma cotinine in multiple linear-regression models (p
Red meat has been suggested to be adversely associated with risk of myocardial infarction (MI), whereas vegetable consumption has been found to be protective. The aim of this study was to investigate substitutions of red meat, poultry and fish with vegetables or potatoes for MI prevention. We followed up 29 142 women and 26 029 men in the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health study aged 50-64 years with no known history of MI at baseline. Diet was assessed by a validated 192-item FFQ at baseline. Adjusted Cox proportional hazard models were used to calculate hazard ratios (HR) and 95 % CI for MI associated with specified food substitutions of 150 g/week. During a median follow-up of 13·6 years, we identified 656 female and 1694 male cases. Among women, the HR for MI when replacing red meat with vegetables was 0·94 (95 % CI 0·90, 0·98). Replacing fatty fish with vegetables was associated with a higher risk of MI (HR 1·23; 95 % CI 1·05, 1·45), whereas an inverse, statistically non-significant association was found for lean fish (HR 0·93; 95 % CI 0·83, 1·05). Substituting poultry with vegetables was not associated with risk of MI (HR 1·00; 95 % CI 0·90, 1·11). Findings for substitution with potatoes were similar to findings for vegetables. Among men, a similar pattern was observed, but the associations were weak and mostly statistically non-significant. This study suggests that replacing red meat with vegetables or potatoes is associated with a lower risk of MI, whereas replacing fatty fish with vegetables or potatoes is associated with a higher risk of MI.