Document Detail

Mercury contamination in the red meat of whales and dolphins marketed for human consumption in Japan.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12854705     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Cetacean products sold for human consumption in Japan originate from a wide range of whale, dolphin, and porpoise species caught off several areas of the Japan coast, Antarctic and North Pacific Oceans. We surveyed the total mercury (T-Hg) levels in red meat, the most popular cetacean products in Japan. We also analyzed the DNA of these to obtain information regarding species. According to the genetic analysis, the red meats originating from nine species of odontocete and six species of mystecete were sold in Japanese markets. T-Hg concentrations in all odontocete red meats (0.52-81.0 microg/wet g, n = 137) exceeded the provisional permitted level of T-Hg in marine foods set by the Japanese government (0.4 microg/wet g). The highest and second highest levels of T-Hg in the red meats were found in the false killer whale (81.0 microg/wet g) and striped dolphin (63.4 microg/wet g), respectively. These concentrations of T-Hg exceeded the permitted level of T-Hg by about 200 and 160 times, respectively, suggesting the possibility of chronic intoxication by methyl mercury due to frequent consumption of odontocete red meats. The T-Hg concentration levels were higher in odontocete species such as Baird's beaked whales and pilot whales caught off southern areas than those caught off northern areas, probably reflecting a higher Hg concentration in the seawater and/or their diet (squid and fish) in the southern area. On the other hand, T-Hg concentrations in all mystecete red meat samples except for one (0.01-0.54 microg/ wet g, n = 62) were below the permitted level of T-Hg, probably reflecting their lower trophic levels.
T Endo; Y Hotta; K Haraguchi; M Sakata
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Environmental science & technology     Volume:  37     ISSN:  0013-936X     ISO Abbreviation:  Environ. Sci. Technol.     Publication Date:  2003 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-07-11     Completed Date:  2003-10-23     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0213155     Medline TA:  Environ Sci Technol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  2681-5     Citation Subset:  IM    
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Health Sciences University of Hokkaido, 1757, Ishikari-Tobetsu, Hokkaido 061-0293, Japan.
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MeSH Terms
Environmental Monitoring
Food Contamination / analysis*
Mercury / analysis*
Mercury Poisoning*
Pacific Ocean
Public Health
Seafood / analysis,  poisoning*
Spectrophotometry, Atomic
Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Water Pollutants, Chemical; 7439-97-6/Mercury

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