Selenium bioaccumulation and hazards in a fish community affected by coal fly ash effluent.

National Biological Service, Midwest Science Center, Columbia, Missouri 65201, USA.
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety (Impact Factor: 2.48). 11/1996; 35(1):7-15. DOI: 10.1006/eesa.1996.0076
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Bioaccumulation of selenium (Se) in the fish community of Pigeon River/Pigeon Lake, which receives inputs of Se from a coal fly ash disposal facility, was studied to assess potential hazards of Se to fish, wildlife, and humans. Se concentrations in fish from sites receiving seepage and effluents from fly ash disposal ponds were significantly greater than those in fish from upstream, where Se concentrations were near background concentrations. Se concentrations differed among fish species, and interspecific variation was greatest at the most contaminated locations. Differences in Se bioaccumulation among fish species were not consistently associated with differences in trophic status. Although Se concentrations in northern pike were consistently less than those in likely prey species, large yellow perch contained Se concentrations as great as those in spottail shiners, their likely prey. Se bioaccumulation may have been influenced by differences in habitat preferences, as limnetic species generally contained greater Se concentrations than benthic species. Se concentrations in fish from the lower Pigeon River and Pigeon Lake did not exceed lowest observable adverse effect concentrations (LOAECs) for Se in tissues of fish species, but exceeded LOAECs for dietary Se exposure of sensitive species of birds and mammals. Human consumption of moderate quantities of fish from the areas studied should not result in excessive Se intake.