Metal Concentrations in Muscle of Fish From Aquatic Systems in East Tennessee, U.S.A.

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Heavy metal residues (i.e., As, Cd, Cu, Pb, Mn, Hg, and Zn) were determined in striated muscle of 268 fish specimens harvested during a 5-yr period (1980-1984) from several aquatic systems in east Tennessee (U.S.A.). Elevated concentrations of Hg, Mn, and Cd were found in the muscle of fish from several of the aquatic systems studied; concentrations of Hg exceeded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration action level of 1.0 ppm for food intended for human consumption. In general, the concentrations of the other metals in fish muscle were low. Moreover, muscle metal content did not vary among the three fish groups (i.e., game fish, catfish, and rough fish) investigated at any one of the nine sampling stations established. The results of this study are in agreement with the 1978-1979 pilot survey of Young and Blevins (1981) conducted at the same sampling stations. It appears that, in this region of Tennessee, heavy metal contamination of fish tissues has neither improved nor deteriorated during the last 5 yr.