Fish Contaminant Goals and Advisory Tissue Levels for Evaluating Methylmercury, Chlordane, DDTs, Dieldrin, PCBs, Selenium, and Toxaphene in California Sport Fish

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This report describes the process of developing Fish Contaminant Goals and Advisory Tissue Levels for evaluating methylmercury, chlordane, DDTs, dieldrin, PCBs, selenium, and toxaphene, common contaminants in California sport fish. Fish provide unique nutritional benefits while also serving as a significant exposure pathway for several chemicals of concern. Fish Contaminant Goals (FCGs) are estimates of contaminant levels in fish that pose no significant health risk to individuals consuming sport fish at a standard consumption rate of eight ounces per week (32 g/day), prior to cooking, over a lifetime and can provide a starting point for OEHHA to assist other agencies that wish to develop fish tissue-based criteria with a goal toward pollution mitigation or elimination. FCGs prevent consumers from being exposed to more than the daily reference dose for non-carcinogens or to a risk level greater than 1xl0-6 for carcinogens (not more than one additional cancer case in a population of 1,000,000 people consuming fish at the given consumption rate over a lifetime). FCGs are based solely on public health considerations without regard to economic considerations, technical feasibility, or the counterbalancing benefits of fish consumption.

Advisory Tissue Levels (ATLs), while still conferring no significant health risk to individuals consuming sport fish in the quantities shown over a lifetime, were developed with the recognition that there are unique health benefits associated with fish consumption and that the advisory process should be expanded beyond a simple risk paradigm in order to best promote the overall health of the fish consumer. ATLs provide a number of recommended fish servings that correspond to the range of contaminant concentrations found in fish and are used to provide consumption advice to prevent consumers from being exposed to more than the average daily reference dose for non-carcinogens or to a risk level greater than 1x10-4 for carcinogens (not more than one additional cancer case in a population of 10,000 people consuming fish at the given consumption rate over a lifetime). ATLs are designed to encourage consumption of fish that can be eaten in quantities likely to provide significant health benefits, while discouraging consumption of fish that, because of contaminant concentrations, should not be eaten or cannot be eaten in amounts recommended for improving overall health (eight ounces total, prior to cooking, per week). ATLs are one of the criteria that will be used by OEHHA for issuing fish consumption guidelines.

For further information contact:

Pesticide and Environmental Toxicology Branch
Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
California Environmental Protection Agency

1515 Clay Street, 16"‘ Floor
Oakland, California 94612
Telephone: (5 10) 622-3170