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Mercury Pollutes Nation's Rivers, Lakes

EPA issued its highest warning ever for children and pregnant women who may eat too many fish, based on reports that some 850,000 miles of the nation's lakes are polluted with mercury and other contaminants.

A diet rich in mercury-tainted fish can severely damage the nervous systems of children and fetuses. That's why states issue fish warnings not only to children but also to women young enough to have children. Many states advise that women and children eat no fish at all from the most heavily contaminated lakes and rivers, listed in state Web sites.

So far, 18 states have issued warnings on eating fish caught from all lakes and rivers. In Minnesota and Michigan the advisories apply only to lakes and in Indiana only to rivers. Another 23 states warn that fish caught in some lakes and rivers could be contaminated. Utah, Wyoming, Iowa, Oklahoma, Hawaii and Alaska issued no mercury warnings.

The warnings apply to well-known water bodies ranging from Lake Champlain and Lake Michigan to San Francisco Bay and the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest.

Although the piece claimed mercury affects primarily fetuses and young children, loyal readers of this blog know differently.

  • Mercury has been known to leak from dental fillings
  • Those who chew gum double their exposure to mercury
  • Vaccines from multi-dose vials likely contain mercury

USA Today August 25, 2004

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