skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Evaluation of the contamination of marine algae (seaweed) from the St. Lawrence River and likely to be consumed by humans

Abstract

The goal of the study was to assess the contamination of marine algae (seaweeds) growing in the St. Lawrence River estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence and to evaluate the risks to human health from the consumption of these algae. Algae were collected by hand at low tide. A total of 10 sites on the north and south shores of the St. Lawrence as well as in Baie des Chaleurs were sampled. The most frequently collected species of algae were Fucus vesiculosus, Ascophyllum nodosum, Laminaria Longicruris, Palmaria palmata, Ulva lactuca, and Fucus distichus. Alga samples were analyzed for metals iodine, and organochlorines. A risk assessment was performed using risk factors. In general, concentrations in St. Lawrence algae were not very high. Consequently, health risks associated with these compounds in St. Lawrence algae were very low. Iodine concentration, on the other hand, could be of concern with regard to human health. Regular consumption of algae, especially of Laminaria sp., could result in levels of iodine sufficient to cause thyroid problems. For regular consumers, it would be preferable to choose species with low iodine concentrations, such as U. lactuca and P. palmata, in order to prevent potential problems. Furthermore, it would alsomore » be important to assess whether preparation for consumption or cooking affects the iodine content of algae. Algae consumption may also have beneficial health effects. Scientific literature has shown that it is a good source of fiber and vitamins, especially vitamin B{sub 12}.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ;  [1]
  1. CHUQ, Sainte-Foy, Quebec (Canada). Centre de Toxicologie du Quebec
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
355613
Report Number(s):
CONF-9705313-
Journal ID: ENVRAL; ISSN 0013-9351; TRN: IM9931%%133
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Research; Journal Volume: 80; Journal Issue: 2Pt2; Conference: Health conference `97, Montreal (Canada), 12-15 May 1997; Other Information: PBD: Feb 1999
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 56 BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE, APPLIED STUDIES; ST LAWRENCE RIVER; WATER POLLUTION; FOOD CHAINS; HEALTH HAZARDS; MAN; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS; ALGAE; METALS; IODINE; ORGANIC CHLORINE COMPOUNDS

Citation Formats

Phaneuf, D., Cote, I., Dumas, P., Ferron, L.A., and LeBlanc, A. Evaluation of the contamination of marine algae (seaweed) from the St. Lawrence River and likely to be consumed by humans. United States: N. p., 1999. Web. doi:10.1006/enrs.1998.3915.
Phaneuf, D., Cote, I., Dumas, P., Ferron, L.A., & LeBlanc, A. Evaluation of the contamination of marine algae (seaweed) from the St. Lawrence River and likely to be consumed by humans. United States. doi:10.1006/enrs.1998.3915.
Phaneuf, D., Cote, I., Dumas, P., Ferron, L.A., and LeBlanc, A. 1999. "Evaluation of the contamination of marine algae (seaweed) from the St. Lawrence River and likely to be consumed by humans". United States. doi:10.1006/enrs.1998.3915.
@article{osti_355613,
title = {Evaluation of the contamination of marine algae (seaweed) from the St. Lawrence River and likely to be consumed by humans},
author = {Phaneuf, D. and Cote, I. and Dumas, P. and Ferron, L.A. and LeBlanc, A.},
abstractNote = {The goal of the study was to assess the contamination of marine algae (seaweeds) growing in the St. Lawrence River estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence and to evaluate the risks to human health from the consumption of these algae. Algae were collected by hand at low tide. A total of 10 sites on the north and south shores of the St. Lawrence as well as in Baie des Chaleurs were sampled. The most frequently collected species of algae were Fucus vesiculosus, Ascophyllum nodosum, Laminaria Longicruris, Palmaria palmata, Ulva lactuca, and Fucus distichus. Alga samples were analyzed for metals iodine, and organochlorines. A risk assessment was performed using risk factors. In general, concentrations in St. Lawrence algae were not very high. Consequently, health risks associated with these compounds in St. Lawrence algae were very low. Iodine concentration, on the other hand, could be of concern with regard to human health. Regular consumption of algae, especially of Laminaria sp., could result in levels of iodine sufficient to cause thyroid problems. For regular consumers, it would be preferable to choose species with low iodine concentrations, such as U. lactuca and P. palmata, in order to prevent potential problems. Furthermore, it would also be important to assess whether preparation for consumption or cooking affects the iodine content of algae. Algae consumption may also have beneficial health effects. Scientific literature has shown that it is a good source of fiber and vitamins, especially vitamin B{sub 12}.},
doi = {10.1006/enrs.1998.3915},
journal = {Environmental Research},
number = 2Pt2,
volume = 80,
place = {United States},
year = 1999,
month = 2
}
  • Marine mammals from various regions of the Arctic and the St. Lawrence River estuary were examined for the first time for levels of C{sub 10}--C{sub 13} polychloro-n-alkanes (sPCAs). Respective mean total sPCA concentrations in the blubber of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from Saqqaq and Nuussuaq, western Greenland, were 0.23 {+-} 0.02 (n = 2) and 0.164 {+-} 0.06 {micro}g/g (n = 2), similar to that in beluga from the Mackenzie Delta in the western Canadian Arctic 0.21 {+-} 0.08 {micro}g/g (m = 3). sPCAs levels were higher in beluga blubber from the St. Lawrence River (0.37 to 1.4 {micro}g/g). Meanmore » sPCA concentrations in the blubber samples from walruses (Odobenus rosmarus) (Thule, northwest Greenland) and ringed seal (Phoca hispida) (Eureka, southwest Ellesmere Island) were 0.43 {+-} 0.06 (n = 2) and 0.53 {+-} 0.2 {micro}g/g (n = 6), respectively. Relative to commercial sPCA formulations, samples from the Arctic marine mammals showed a predominance of the shorter chain length lower percent chlorinated PCA congeners, the more volatile components of industrial formulations. This observation is consistent with long-range atmospheric transport of sPCAs to this region. The profiles of the belugas from the St. Lawrence River estuary, however, had higher proportions of the less volatile sPCA congeners, implying that contamination to this region is probably from local sources.« less
  • Three sets of studies of the impacts of human exposure to PCB contaminated fish from the Great Lakes basin--the Michigan Sports Fisherman Cohort, the Michigan Maternal/Infant Cohort, and the Wisconsin Maternal/Infant Cohort-were evaluated using the epidemiologic criteria of Susser (1986). The studies were compared against each other, and against comparable data from other geographic locales. A total of seven major categories of exposure sequelae were evaluated. These ranged from the effects of primary exposure to contaminants upon maternal health status, to effects from secondary intrauterine fetal exposure, including alterations in birth size and gestational age, changes in neonatal health status,more » and effects persisting into early infancy. Results of the evaluations suggest that the causal hypothesis may be strongly affirmed for the relationship between PCB exposure and alterations in both neonatal health status and in health status in early infancy may be affirmed with reasonable certainty. While the evidence from the Michigan Maternal/Infant Cohort related to maternal exposure to PCB and infant size at birth and gestational age affirms the causal hypothesis, studies from other geographic locales tend only to be supportive. Analytic differences are likely responsible for this variation, but epidemiologically, the composite rating must be regarded as indeterminate. The relationship with observed alterations in maternal health status, composite activity ranking, and McCarthy Memory Scale deficits were also classified as indeterminate. No evidences of obvious negation were seen, although one portion of a study was disqualified because of incoherence. 89 references.« less