Mercury Contamination in Diamondback Terrapins in New Jersey

Natalie Sherwood, Meiyin S Wu, Peddrick Weis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Mercury contamination in consumed foods poses a significant threat to human health globally. The consumption of mercury-contaminated turtle meat is of special concern due to mercury’s capability to bioaccumulate and biomagnify in organisms. Turtles are long-lived predators, allowing for a high degree of bioaccumulation and biomagnification of contaminants. In the U.S., diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) are legally harvested in several states throughout their range. Harvested turtles are usually sold to both local and global markets mainly for human consumption, which results in a human consumption threat. The objective of this study was to analyze mercury concentrations to determine if the consumption of terrapins poses a threat to human health. Diamondback terrapins were collected from two study sites: Cape May and Hackensack Meadowlands, New Jersey, relatively pristine and contaminated estuaries, respectively. Turtle carapace, blood, and muscle samples were analyzed for total mercury concentrations. Results showed significant difference between study sites and females’ and males’ blood mercury concentrations. Similarly, results showed blood mercury correlated with carapace length. Results also showed that 50% of Cape May muscle samples and 72.7% Meadowlands muscles samples surpassed the New Jersey sensitive threshold of 0.18 ppm. Furthermore, 27.3% of Cape May muscle samples and 45.5% of Meadowlands muscles samples surpassed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s mercury threshold of 0.3 ppm for seafood consumption for the general public. Overall, the harvest of terrapins could pose a threat to consumers, and terrapins should be monitored closely or possibly banned for human consumption, especially in areas with known contamination history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)756-765
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Management
Volume62
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018

Fingerprint

Muscle
Contamination
muscle
turtle
Blood
blood
Health
Bioaccumulation
Meats
Estuaries
Environmental protection
seafood
meat
bioaccumulation
mercury
consumption
mercury contamination
Impurities
environmental protection
estuary

Keywords

  • Bioaccumulation
  • Biomagnification
  • Diamondback terrapin
  • Human consumption safety
  • Mercury

Cite this

Sherwood, Natalie ; Wu, Meiyin S ; Weis, Peddrick. / Mercury Contamination in Diamondback Terrapins in New Jersey. In: Environmental Management. 2018 ; Vol. 62, No. 4. pp. 756-765.
@article{9fefe4f1af194de09f50b1aa2328d6e5,
title = "Mercury Contamination in Diamondback Terrapins in New Jersey",
abstract = "Mercury contamination in consumed foods poses a significant threat to human health globally. The consumption of mercury-contaminated turtle meat is of special concern due to mercury’s capability to bioaccumulate and biomagnify in organisms. Turtles are long-lived predators, allowing for a high degree of bioaccumulation and biomagnification of contaminants. In the U.S., diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) are legally harvested in several states throughout their range. Harvested turtles are usually sold to both local and global markets mainly for human consumption, which results in a human consumption threat. The objective of this study was to analyze mercury concentrations to determine if the consumption of terrapins poses a threat to human health. Diamondback terrapins were collected from two study sites: Cape May and Hackensack Meadowlands, New Jersey, relatively pristine and contaminated estuaries, respectively. Turtle carapace, blood, and muscle samples were analyzed for total mercury concentrations. Results showed significant difference between study sites and females’ and males’ blood mercury concentrations. Similarly, results showed blood mercury correlated with carapace length. Results also showed that 50{\%} of Cape May muscle samples and 72.7{\%} Meadowlands muscles samples surpassed the New Jersey sensitive threshold of 0.18 ppm. Furthermore, 27.3{\%} of Cape May muscle samples and 45.5{\%} of Meadowlands muscles samples surpassed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s mercury threshold of 0.3 ppm for seafood consumption for the general public. Overall, the harvest of terrapins could pose a threat to consumers, and terrapins should be monitored closely or possibly banned for human consumption, especially in areas with known contamination history.",
keywords = "Bioaccumulation, Biomagnification, Diamondback terrapin, Human consumption safety, Mercury",
author = "Natalie Sherwood and Wu, {Meiyin S} and Peddrick Weis",
year = "2018",
month = "10",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1007/s00267-018-1075-9",
language = "English",
volume = "62",
pages = "756--765",
journal = "Environmental Management",
issn = "0364-152X",
publisher = "Springer New York",
number = "4",

}

Mercury Contamination in Diamondback Terrapins in New Jersey. / Sherwood, Natalie; Wu, Meiyin S; Weis, Peddrick.

In: Environmental Management, Vol. 62, No. 4, 01.10.2018, p. 756-765.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Mercury Contamination in Diamondback Terrapins in New Jersey

AU - Sherwood, Natalie

AU - Wu, Meiyin S

AU - Weis, Peddrick

PY - 2018/10/1

Y1 - 2018/10/1

N2 - Mercury contamination in consumed foods poses a significant threat to human health globally. The consumption of mercury-contaminated turtle meat is of special concern due to mercury’s capability to bioaccumulate and biomagnify in organisms. Turtles are long-lived predators, allowing for a high degree of bioaccumulation and biomagnification of contaminants. In the U.S., diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) are legally harvested in several states throughout their range. Harvested turtles are usually sold to both local and global markets mainly for human consumption, which results in a human consumption threat. The objective of this study was to analyze mercury concentrations to determine if the consumption of terrapins poses a threat to human health. Diamondback terrapins were collected from two study sites: Cape May and Hackensack Meadowlands, New Jersey, relatively pristine and contaminated estuaries, respectively. Turtle carapace, blood, and muscle samples were analyzed for total mercury concentrations. Results showed significant difference between study sites and females’ and males’ blood mercury concentrations. Similarly, results showed blood mercury correlated with carapace length. Results also showed that 50% of Cape May muscle samples and 72.7% Meadowlands muscles samples surpassed the New Jersey sensitive threshold of 0.18 ppm. Furthermore, 27.3% of Cape May muscle samples and 45.5% of Meadowlands muscles samples surpassed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s mercury threshold of 0.3 ppm for seafood consumption for the general public. Overall, the harvest of terrapins could pose a threat to consumers, and terrapins should be monitored closely or possibly banned for human consumption, especially in areas with known contamination history.

AB - Mercury contamination in consumed foods poses a significant threat to human health globally. The consumption of mercury-contaminated turtle meat is of special concern due to mercury’s capability to bioaccumulate and biomagnify in organisms. Turtles are long-lived predators, allowing for a high degree of bioaccumulation and biomagnification of contaminants. In the U.S., diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) are legally harvested in several states throughout their range. Harvested turtles are usually sold to both local and global markets mainly for human consumption, which results in a human consumption threat. The objective of this study was to analyze mercury concentrations to determine if the consumption of terrapins poses a threat to human health. Diamondback terrapins were collected from two study sites: Cape May and Hackensack Meadowlands, New Jersey, relatively pristine and contaminated estuaries, respectively. Turtle carapace, blood, and muscle samples were analyzed for total mercury concentrations. Results showed significant difference between study sites and females’ and males’ blood mercury concentrations. Similarly, results showed blood mercury correlated with carapace length. Results also showed that 50% of Cape May muscle samples and 72.7% Meadowlands muscles samples surpassed the New Jersey sensitive threshold of 0.18 ppm. Furthermore, 27.3% of Cape May muscle samples and 45.5% of Meadowlands muscles samples surpassed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s mercury threshold of 0.3 ppm for seafood consumption for the general public. Overall, the harvest of terrapins could pose a threat to consumers, and terrapins should be monitored closely or possibly banned for human consumption, especially in areas with known contamination history.

KW - Bioaccumulation

KW - Biomagnification

KW - Diamondback terrapin

KW - Human consumption safety

KW - Mercury

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85048681189&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s00267-018-1075-9

DO - 10.1007/s00267-018-1075-9

M3 - Article

VL - 62

SP - 756

EP - 765

JO - Environmental Management

JF - Environmental Management

SN - 0364-152X

IS - 4

ER -