Who is at Risk?

Sensitive Sub-Populations

The Great Lakes Human Health Effects Research Program has identified several human populations who may be at particular risk because of greatest exposure to Great Lakes pollutants via fish consumption. Such predisposition to toxic injury in these populations can be due to behavior (e.g., degree of contaminated fish consumption), nutritional status, physiology (e.g., developing fetuses), or other factors.

These vulnerable populations include:

  • Pregnant and Nursing Females
  • Fetuses, Nursing Infants, and Children
  • American Indians
  • Sport Anglers
  • African-Americans
  • Elderly
  • Asian Americans
  • Urban Poor
  • Individuals with compromised immune function

Sensitive Human Health Endpoints

Exposure to contaminants via consumption of Great Lakes fish over an extended period may increase the potential for adverse human health effects. The persistence and latency of some of these Great Lakes contaminants have been demonstrated to be important in their ability to cause adverse health effects. Thus, the program has identified sensitive human health end points to be assessed. These include behavioral, reproductive, developmental, neurologic, endocrinologic, and immunologic measures. Future assessment may examine genetic end points and other sensitive biomarkers of exposure and or effect if warranted by the research findings.

Page last reviewed: June 23, 2015 (archived document)