Fish consumption advisory for Texas coastal waters: Some fish unsafe to consume due to mercury levels, officials say

May 7, 2013 7:26:45 PM PDT
The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued an advisory warning that certain fish caught in all waters off of the Texas coast have unsafe levels of mercury.

Women of childbearing age, including women who are nursing, and children under 12 years old should not consume certain fish. The advisory recommends women past childbearing age and adult men limit their consumption of fish from this area.

The advisory was issued after testing revealed that fish examined from the northwestern Gulf of Mexico contained mercury at concentrations that exceed DSHS health guidelines of 0.7 mg/kg in the following species: shark (all species), blackfin tuna, blue marlin, little tunny, crevalle jack, king mackerel, swordfish, and wahoo. Regular or long-term consumption of these fish may result in serious adverse health effects.

Again, men and women mast childbearing age are urged to limit their consumption of these fish. The only fish the DHSH recommends that even adult men and women past childbearing age not eat is blue marlin. Every other fish on the list is OK for these individuals if you limit consumption to two meals (8 ounces per meal) per month, except king mackeral less than 35 inches, which has a suggested limit of one meal per week.

Mercury is a naturally occurring element that can also be a byproduct of human activity. If consumed regularly, it can cause harmful effects to the central nervous system, particularly in children including those exposed before birth. Symptoms of prolonged exposure include liver damage, tingling of the skin, loss of coordination, visual and hearing impairment, slurred speech and other damage to the brain and nervous system.
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