April 24, 2014

Texas Issues Fish Consumption Advisory for Mercury

The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued an advisory warning consumers not to consume blue marlin caught in all waters off the Texas coast. And they said that women of childbearing age and children under the age of 12 should not eat swordfish caught off the Texas coast. The fish have unsafe levels of mercury.

Testing revealed that the fish from the northwestern Gulf of Mexico had mercury at concentrations above the DSHS health guidelines of no more than 0.7 mg/kg. The blue marlin mercury levels were 12.9 mg/kg, more than 18 times the recommended limit. The levels in swordfish were 1.18 mg/kg, more than 1.6 times the recommended levels.

Mercury is a naturally occurring element that can cause birth defects and harm to the central nervous system. Symptoms of prolonged exposure include tingling of the skin, loss of coordination, visual and hearing impairment and slurred speech.

Most recreational fishermen catch and release these fish, but some is eaten. In addition to this advisory, public health officials have said that kind mackerel greater than 43 inches in length not be eaten. For king mackerel between 37 to 43 inches, women of childbearing age and children under the age of 12 should eat it no more than once a month. One serving is 8 ounces of fish.

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