According to the agency, daily limit of 200 grams of fish for adults and 50 grams for children poses no risk to human health
In a technical note, the National Sanitary Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) has given a favourable opinion to the consumption of fish and crustaceans from the Doce River Basin and the coastal region, subject to the daily limits of up to 200 grams of fish for adults and young people over 10 years old (or 1.4 kg per week) and up to 50 grams for children up to 10 years old and pregnant women (or 350 grams per week). These parameters were considered safe for consumption because they represent a minimum health risk.
The analysis was based on a request from the Fisheries and Aquaculture Working Group (GT – Pesca), which is part of the Interfederative Committee (CIF). Composed of members of the academic community, of the federal and state public authorities, the committee accompanies the actions of the Renova Foundation, responsible for repairing and compensating the damages of the collapse.
To support the analysis, the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), Renova Foundation and universities (such as the Federal University of Rio Grande – FURG) sent raw and analysed data from samples collected from Mariana to the mouth of the Doce River and along the coastal region, from Guarapari (ES) to Abrolhos (BA), including tributaries and stretches that were not affected by the Fundão dam tailings. Between November and December 2018, Anvisa received 11,000 analysed results, covering 76 different species of fish, four of prawns and one of lobster. The analysis investigated the presence of 12 elements (among metals and metalloids) in fish from the affected region: cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, iron, manganese, mercury, arsenic, aluminium, nickel, silver and zinc.
Based on the results, Anvisa recognizes that the fish in the study region present higher concentrations of cadmium (in saltwater fish), mercury and lead when compared to fish commercialized worldwide. The agency points out, however, that only the presence of lead and mercury deserve attention. The concentration of other metals would not pose a risk to human health.
Technical note no. 8/2019 / SEI / GEARE / GGALI / DIRE2 / ANVISA also stresses the importance of control and inspection to ensure that there is no consumption of fish with a concentration of metals higher than those defined by current legislation.
Anvisa’s recommendation not only offers more health safety, but also represents an important step towards the resumption of the economy of the affected region, one of the missions of Renova Foundation, which works to restore the socioeconomic and environmental conditions of aquaculture and fisheries activities.
According to the leader of the Biodiversity program of the Renova Foundation, Bruno Pimenta, this is an important step for the continuity of the studies. “The fish is still being monitored. Other analysis will be added to verify the possibility of modifying the amount of consumption,” says Pimenta.