ADEQ issues fish consumption advisories for lakes in Apache, Maricopa and Navajo Counties
Posted September 6, 2017
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), in association with the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), has issued three new advisories that recommend fish consumption amounts to protect public health. These advisories are based on recent analysis of data from fish tissue samples, which showed elevated levels of mercury in fillets from different fish species from lakes in three Arizona counties as follows:
ADEQ encourages residents and visitors to Arizona to continue to enjoy the wide variety of recreational activities at each of these lakes, such as fishing, bird watching and swimming, which are not affected by this advisory.
Fish can be an important part of a healthy, diverse diet because they are an excellent source of protein and low in saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends eating two fish or seafood meals weekly as part of a healthy diet.
Any potential health risks from eating fish on ADEQ’s advisory list are based on long-term consumption, not eating fish occasionally.
A fish consumption advisory is a public health alert that recommends healthy amounts of fish to eat 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 natural and man-made sources. Fish can accumulate elevated levels of mercury when larger fish consume smaller fish and insects. Long-term consumption (over a lifetime) of fish containing high levels of mercury can cause health problems, including damage to the central nervous system. Infants and pregnant or nursing mothers are most at risk to possible health effects.