Massachusetts Bay: Winter Flounder
||Centrotubular hydropic vacuolation (CHV) is a mild condition associated with exposure to contaminants. Incidence of CHV in fish from the outfall site and Deer Island Flats continues to be lower than in the years before the Massachusetts Bay outfall began to discharge sewage effluent from Greater Boston. Liver disease in
winter flounder is an indicator of pollution, because the liver can be damaged as
contaminants are metabolized.
Flounder livers are tested for levels of lead,
mercury, cadmium, copper, nickel, silver, zinc, chromium, PAHs,
PCBs, DDT, and ten other pesticides. In order to test for potential
human health effects, mercury, PCBs, DDT, and seven other pesticides
are also measured in the edible flounder fillets. For many fish
species, consumption advisories because of mercury are a concern.
However, mercury levels in winter flounder have been stable at
about 50-100 parts per billion, well below the U. S. Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) limit of 1,000 parts per billion. Levels
of PCBs and DDT are also well below FDA limits. PCBs, DDT, and
mercury in fillet of flounder caught in the harbor have fluctuated
between years. All these chemicals have
measured well below the FDA action limits.