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Mercury and fish advisories issued for 11 waterways

by Minden Press-Herald

Advisories include 1 new warning and updates to 10 previously issued warnings

The Louisiana Departments of Health, Environmental Quality and Wildlife and Fisheries today issued a series of fish consumption advisories for 11 bodies of water. These most recent advisories include one new warning and updates to ten previously issued warnings.

The state issues precautionary advisories when unacceptable levels of mercury are detected in fish or shellfish.

The Department of Environmental Quality conducts fish sampling. LDH then uses this data to determine the need for additional advisories or to modify existing advisories. Each advisory lists the specific fish, makes consumption recommendations and outlines the geographic boundaries of the affected waterways.

The individual advisories for the following bodies of water are linked below.

Because of mercury contamination, there are now fish consumption advisories for 51 waterways in Louisiana and one for the Gulf of Mexico.

Louisiana fish consumption advisories are based on the estimate that the average resident eats four meals of fish per month (one meal = ½ pound). Consuming more than this from local water bodies may increase health risks.

Mercury is an element that occurs naturally in the environment. Consequently, there are small amounts of mercury in the sediments of streams, lakes, rivers and oceans. Nearly all fish contain trace amounts of mercury. They absorb mercury as they feed on aquatic organisms. Larger predator fish contain more mercury than smaller fish. It is recommended that smaller fish be consumed instead of larger ones.

People are exposed to low levels of mercury throughout their lives. Health effects from harmful levels of mercury can include nervous system and kidney damage. Young children and developing fetuses are more sensitive to the toxic effects of mercury. Therefore, consumption advisories are issued at lower fish tissue concentrations for women of childbearing age and children under seven years of age.

The full text for each advisory is posted online at www.ldh.la.gov/EatSafeFish or is available by calling 1-888-293-7020. You may also access the information by downloading the Department of Environmental Quality’s new app which is available through Google Play and the Apple Store. Enter the search term: LA Fish Advisories.

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