A targeted health risk assessment following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure in Vietnamese-American shrimp consumers

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: The Deep Water Horizon oil spill of 2010, prompted concern about health risks among seafood consumers exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) via consumption of contaminated seafood. OBJECTIVE: To conduct population-specific probabilistic health risk assessments based on consumption of locally harvested white shrimp (Litopenaeus setiferus) among Vietnamese-Americans in Southeast Louisiana. METHODS: We conducted a survey of Vietnamese-Americans in Southeast Louisiana, to measure shrimp consumption, preparation methods, and bodyweight among shrimp consumers in the disaster-impacted region. We also collected and chemically analyzed locally harvested white shrimp for 81 individual PAHs. We combined the PAH levels (with accepted reference doses) found in the shrimp with the survey data to conduct Monte Carlo simulations for probabilistic non-cancer health risk assessments. We also conducted probabilistic cancer risk assessments using relative potency factors (RPFs) to estimate cancer risks from the intake of PAHs from white shrimp. RESULTS: Monte Carlo simulations were used to generate hazard quotient distributions for non-cancer health risks, reported as mean ± standard deviation, for naphthalene (1.8 x 10(-4) ± 3.3 x 10(-4)), fluorene (2.4 x 10(-5) ± 3.3 x 10(-5)), anthracene (3.9 x 10(-6) ± 5.4 x 10(-6)), pyrene (3.2 x 10(-5) ± 4.3 x 10(-5)), and fluoranthene (1.8 x 10(-4) ± 3.3 x 10(-4)). A cancer risk distribution, based on RPF-adjusted PAH intake, was also generated (2.4 x 10(-7) ± 3.9 x 10(-7)). CONCLUSIONS: The risk assessment results show no acute health risks or excess cancer risk associated with consumption of shrimp containing levels of PAHs detected in our study, even among frequent shrimp consumers.

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Wilson, M. J., Frickel, S., Nguyen, D., Bui, T., Echsner, S., Simon, B. R., … Wickliffe, J. K. (2015). A targeted health risk assessment following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure in Vietnamese-American shrimp consumers. Environmental Health Perspectives, 123(2), 152–159. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1408684

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