Statewide advisory issued over mercury levels in bass - KPTV - FOX 12

Statewide advisory issued over mercury levels in bass

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SALEM, OR (KPTV) -

The Oregon Health Authority is issuing a statewide advisory for bass due to elevated levels of mercury found in fish tissue sampled from a number of bodies of water across the state. 

Tissue samples were taken from 62 bass from 11 water bodies across the state, including eight rivers, two reservoirs and one lake covering each region of the state, from 2008 through 2014.

According to the OHA mercury levels are considered a risk if they are above 0.2 mg/kg for at-risk populations, such as infants, children, and pregnant or breastfeeding women, and 0.6 mg/kg for the general public.

The average total concentrations found in fish tissue from across the state ranged from 0.08 mg/kg to 0.86 mg/kg of mercury. 

People who eat too much fish contaminated with mercury can suffer negative health effects over time, such as damage to organs, the nervous system and reproductive system. Fetuses, babies and small children are most vulnerable to the health effects of mercury and, if exposed to high levels, can suffer life-long learning and behavior problems.

Issuing a statewide advisory helps prevent confusion and reduces the public's exposure to mercury when consuming bass from non-monitored water bodies. 

The OHA Public Health Division recommends that the general public limits consumption of bass to no more than six meals per month and no more than two meals per month for at-risk populations of bass from all bodies of water across the state. 

The advisory is expected to remain in place for the foreseeable future because mercury can come from both natural and human-made sources, and is transported globally through air pollution.

The OHA has more information available at HealthOregon.org/FishAdv.

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