Elevated levels of mercury in some Bartlett Lake fish, ADEQ says

(From left, channel catfish and largemouth bass graphics courtesy of ADEQ)

(From left, channel catfish and largemouth bass graphics courtesy of ADEQ)

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, in association with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, has issued a fish consumption advisory recommending that people limit consumption of channel catfish and largemouth bass caught from Bartlett Lake in Maricopa County. ADEQ is issuing this advisory because recent fish tissue samples from Bartlett Lake contained elevated levels of mercury. The lake is at 20808 E, Bartlett Dam Road in Rio Verde.

ADEQ recommends that adults limit consumption of channel catfish and largemouth bass to 2.4 ounces (uncooked weight) per week and children 12 years of age and under limit consumption to two ounces per month (uncooked weight). 
This advisory does not limit the use of this waterbody for fishing, bird watching, swimming, or other recreational uses. In general, the level of contaminants in fish is several folds higher than levels found in water.
 
Any health risks associated with eating fish from this advisory area are based on long term consumption and are not representative of risk from eating fish occasionally.  Fish are an excellent source of protein and can be an important part of a healthy, diverse diet as they are low in saturated fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids.  The American Heart Association recommends that individuals eat at least two fish or seafood meals weekly.
A fish consumption advisory is a public health alert that provides recommendations regarding safe fish consumption when ADEQ determines contaminant levels in fish tissues taken from Arizona waterways exceed state health standards. These advisories are not for commercial fish sold in markets.
Mercury in the environment can come from various sources. Ingesting mercury can cause numerous health problems such as damage to the central nervous system. Infants and pregnant or nursing mothers are considered most at risk to possible health effects. Fish can accumulate elevated levels of mercury when larger fish consume smaller fish and insects.
An ADEQ fish consumption advisory fact sheet is at https://www.azdeq.gov/environ/water/assessment/download/fca.pdf
 
An Arizona Game and Fish Department Arizona fish consumption advisory list is at http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/fish_consumption.shtml
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration Guidance regarding mercury and fish consumption is at
http://www.epa.gov/ost/fishadvice/factsheet.html

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