Post-deepwater horizon blowout seafood consumption patterns and community-specific levels of concern for selected chemicals among children in Mobile County, Alabama

Academic Article


  • © 2016 Purpose The goal of the study was to characterize risk pertaining to seafood consumption patterns following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, among school children (K to 4th grade) residing in close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico in Mobile County, Alabama. Methods Responses on seafood consumption pattern including the type of seafood and intake rate during the pre and post oil spill periods, from parents of 55 school children from three schools located <20 mile radius from the Gulf of Mexico shoreline (coastal group) were compared with those from parents of 55 children from three schools located ≥20 miles away from the shoreline (inland group). We also estimated levels of concern (LOCs) in seafood for selected chemicals found in crude oil including heavy metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), and dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DOSS), the primary compound in dispersants. Results The coastal group ate more seafood consisting primarily of crustaceans (62% vs. 42%, p = 0.04) and fin fish (78% vs. 58%, p = 0.02) from the Gulf of Mexico compared to the inland group, while the inland group ate more fin fish not found in the Gulf of Mexico (62% vs. 33%, p < 0.01). In the post-oil spill time period, both groups substantially reduced their consumption of sea food. On average, the coastal group ate ≥2 seafood meals per week, while the inland group ate ≤1 meal per week; these frequency patterns persisted in the post oil-spill period. Comparison of the estimated LOCs with contaminant levels detected in the seafood tested by the Food and Drug Administration and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, post-oil spill, found that the levels of PAHs, arsenic, and DOSS in seafood were 1–2 orders of magnitude below the LOCs calculated in our study. Levels of methyl mercury (MeHg) in the seafood tested pre- and post- oil spill were higher than the estimated LOCs suggesting presence of higher levels of MeHg in seafood independent of the oil spill. Conclusion In sum, the study found higher than average seafood consumption among children along the Mobile coastal area when compared to the inland children and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) estimates. Risk characterization based on the LOCs indicated no increase in risk of exposure despite higher seafood consumption rates among the study population compared to the general population.
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    Author List

  • Sathiakumar N; Tipre M; Turner-Henson A; Chen L; Leader M; Gohlke J
  • Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 7
  • Volume

  • 220
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  • 1