and shellfish consumption advisories due to toxic chemical contamination
were first announced in New Jersey in the 1980s. Data from Division
of Science, Research and Technology (DSRT) studies revealed
that unacceptable risks existed for eating certain species of
fish and shellfish from some waters in the State. These advisories
particularly apply to pregnant women, nursing mothers and young
children because polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxin and
mercury have been shown to cause a number of serious health
effects including effects on the immune system, nervous system,
developmental problems, and/or cancer. Current advisories are
listed on NJDEP’s Website (www.FishSmartEatSmartNJ.org).
data are needed on a recurring basis to evaluate and adjust
advisories as appropriate. Without regular monitoring data,
current advisories could be either under or overly protective
of human health.
statewide “Routine Monitoring Program for Toxics in Fish”
has been developed by NJDEP/DSRT. The project reported here
is Year 2 of the five-year monitoring effort, with most samples
collected in 2004. The principal investigator of this project
is Dr. Richard Horwitz of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia
(ANSP). He and his staff have conducted various research projects
on chemical contamination of fish in the region. Dr. Horwitz
is highly respected in this area of research and the ANSP is
considered one of the regions best independent scientific organizations.
A final report with additional detail on the results will be
available on the NJDEP/DSRT web site in the near future.
primary goal of the Routine Monitoring Program is to update
the human health consumption advisories for certain foodfish
species and/or geographic areas. However, NJDEP recognizes the
additional potential usages of these data for such important
collateral activities as natural resources management, hazardous
site characterization, water quality assessment, natural resource
damage claims, and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development.
Where possible, the Routine Monitoring Program has been designed
in such a way as to meet the Department’s data quality
objectives and to maximize benefits for each individual program.
The results of this monitoring effort will expand upon the existing
contaminant database used to develop fish consumption advisories
and identify chemical contaminant levels in Atlantic marine
and estuarine species from several waterways throughout the
coastal portions of the state.
scope of work for this project is presented in two tasks. Task
I details the baseline status and trends sampling for the coastal
region of the State. Task II presents more targeted sampling
within the tidal Passaic River and Newark Bay Complex for dioxin/furan
analysis to support the Passaic River Directive and the Passaic
River/Newark Bay Natural Resource Damage Claim. The latter sampling
includes dioxin analyses of samples, more species per site,
and additional down bay sampling of the Lower Passaic-Hackensack
Rivers, Newark Bay, Raritan Bays, and Sandy Hook Bay.
I. Routine Monitoring: Estuarine & Marine Species
data presented in Task I are for species of estuarine-marine
fish/shellfish (striped bass, bluefish, white perch, white catfish,
American eel, blue crab and lobster) that are under current
consumption advisories on a statewide, regional and/or waterway-specific
basis for PCB and/or dioxin contamination. In addition, several
other species of recreational or commercial importance were
collected. These included weakfish, porgy and Atlantic croaker.
Sampling includes alongshore-coastal areas, Delaware Bay and
Estuary and Barnegat Bay. Unless specified, all coastal estuarine
and marine species were analyzed for PCBs, pesticides and total
mercury, as well as lipids. A limited number of samples were
also analyzed for PBDEs (flame retardants). All fish species
were analyzed as individual fillets (skin off) and all blue
crab were analyzed for both muscle meat and hepatopancreas tissues.
II. Tidal Passaic River and Downstream Receiving Waters (NRD)
recognition of the continuing public health advisories associated
with dioxin contamination in foodfish and shellfish within the
tidal Passaic River and Newark Bay Complex, a separate yet interrelated
study was carried out involving the collection of fish/shellfish
samples. These locations were sampled differentially for four
species; white perch, striped bass, blue crab and American lobster
within their preferred ecological zones or habitats. Species
and sample location were designed to address multiple program
data needs including fish consumption advisories, water quality
assessment, contaminated site assessment, natural resource damage
claims, TMDLs and resource management concerns.
fish species were analyzed as individual fillets (skin off)
and all blue crab and American lobster composite samples were
analyzed for both muscle meat and hepatopancreas tissues. Each
tissue (i.e., fillet, muscle, hepatopancreas) were analyzed
for dioxins/furans, PCBs (congener and co-planar), organo-chlorinated
pesticides, mercury and lipids.
data should be considered draft and are subject to change until
final quality assurance procedures are complete.
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