Author(s): Burger J, Gochfeld M
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Abstract Increasingly there is a need to implement biomonitoring plans that can be sustained cost-effectively, focusing on single widespread (or closely-related species) in different parts of the world to detect exposure, potential damage to the organisms themselves, and risk to their consumers, including humans. Blue Mussels (Mytilus edulis and its relatives) have been widely used for environmental monitoring. One successful program that has achieved great coverage in time and space is "Mussel Watch", and related programs exist in several regions. In this paper we use the Pacific Blue Mussel Mytilus [edulis] trossulus collected from five locations on Adak Island in the Aleutian Chain to examine five heavy metals and two metalloids, to test for locational differences as a function of anthropogenic activities, and to consider potential human health risks. Until the late 1990s Adak hosted a large U.S. military base, with multiple areas of contamination, some of which have been remediated. In June 2004 we identified four presumably human-impacted sites and a presumed unimpacted reference site, the latter on Clam Lagoon Beach, about 3 km from former military activity. No single site had the highest level of more than two metals, and the reference site had the highest levels of chromium and manganese. We subsequently found historic records of a former landfill within 1 km of the reference site. All of the locational differences were less than an order of magnitude, the greatest difference between the highest and lowest values being 4.5 times for lead. The highest correlations were between mercury and arsenic, mercury and lead, arsenic and lead, and chromium and manganese. Shell length was a better indicator of metals' levels than soft body weight, but the relationships were weak. There was no significant correlation between body size or weight with arsenic, lead, or selenium levels. There is substantial comparative data on these metals in mussels. Our results from Adak are generally within the range of mean values reported in the literature, except for the consistently elevated levels of chromium.
This article was published in Sci Total Environ
and referenced in Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development