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Mercury Contamination in Stream Fishes

Mercury Contamination in Stream Fishes

Sports Fishermen pay attention to. A government investigation of fishes pulled from about 300 streams in the America revealed that each of the fishes is contaminated with certain percentage of mercury.

A research conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey marks its comprehensive test of mercury contamination in fishes caught in U.S. streams. The research revealed that 27% of the stream fishes had high mercury contamination. The contamination level is higher enough than the safety level determined by Environmental Protection Agency for average fish-eaters who eat fishes twice per week.

The result of the study on wild-caught fishes underscores how the widespread mercury poisoning in the country's watercourses has become. Previous study found levels of worry for the lake as well as ocean fishes.

Ken Salazar, the interior secretary said in his statement that the study sends an obvious message that USA should continue to tackle water pollution, bring back America's waterways and to save the American population from probable health dangers.

Mercury is a neurotoxin which is dangerous to the neurological growth in the infants as well as in the fetuses.

Mostly, mercury in the water comes from the particles from atmosphere as said by EPA. EPA also mentioned that it is also widely emitted by the coal-fired power units, concrete plants and trash burning both nationwide and internationally.

The USGS research tested mercury in 291 U.S. streams from the year 1998 to 2005.

One astonishing fact was that the mercury levels were low in waterways in urban areas and high in coastal plain waterways nourished by forests and wetlands, especially in South Carolina, North Carolina, Louisiana, Florida and Georgia.

These areas are organically rich in microorganisms that convert inorganic atmospheric mercury into dangerous organic form of mercury which is known as methyl mercury as said by Barbara Scudder from USGS.

The maximum levels of mercury were found in smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass. The minimum levels of mercury were found in rainbow-cutthroat trout, brown and channel catfish.

Although, EPA give emphasis to fish as a vital part of healthy diet, but some species with mercury contamination especially from the streams and lakes, may not be suitable for the children and the women at their childbearing age.

David Martosko, a spokesperson from Center for Consumer Freedom said that different studies have shown that known health benefits from eating sea-food prevail over any theoretical health problem.

Gavin Gibbons from the National Fisheries Institute warned that it is important for the consumers to know that it does not mean any traditional seafood that they get in the supermarkets or restaurants; these are the recreational fishes only; these are not the fishes pulled from the ocean or brought up via aquaculture.

48 U.S. states have their own fish consumption advisory units for specific species of fishes. A comprehensive list of warnings is obtainable at

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