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Most of the U.S. Fish Supply Contains Harmful Levels of Mercury

More than half the fish in the nation's lakes and reservoirs have levels of mercury that exceed government standards for women of child-bearing age and children, according to an environmental coalition's analysis of a survey by the Environmental Protection Agency. The coalition, Clear the Air, is pressing the agency to set more stringent mercury emission standards for coal-fired power plants than those the current administration has proposed. In the United States, power plants account for 41 percent of all mercury emissions, more than 90,000 pounds a year, and up to 80 percent of the mercury deposits in some parts of the country, including the Northeast and the Great Lakes region. The kind of mercury scientists have found in fish is a toxin that can harm human health, particularly in women of child-bearing age and young children. This is why I have been saying for so long that most all fish is not safe to eat, and should in fact be avoided. Some of the report's findings include:

  • 55 percent of fish samples were contaminated with mercury levels above a safe limit for women of average weight who eat fish twice a week
  • 76 percent of samples exceeded a safe limit for children of average weight under 3 who eat fish twice a week

New York Times August 4, 2004

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