Great Lakes Environmental Directory Great Lakes Great Lakes environment Great Lakes grants exotic species water pollution water export drilling environment Great Lakes pollution Superior Michigan Huron Erie Ontario ecology Great Lakes issues wetlands Great Lakes wetlands Great Lakes Great Lakes environment Great Lakes watershed water quality exotic species Great Lakes grants water pollution water export oil gas drilling environment environmental Great Lakes pollution Lake Superior Lake Michigan Lake Huron Lake Erie Lake Ontario Great Lakes ecology Great Lakes issues Great Lakes wetlands Great Lakes Resources Great Lakes activist Great Lakes environmental organizations Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat air pollution alien species threatened rare endangered species ecological Great Lakes information Success Stories Great Lakes Directory Home/News Great Lakes Calendar Great Lakes jobs/volunteering Search Great Lakes Organizations Take Action! Contact Us Resources/Links Great Lakes Issues Great Lakes News Article About Us Networking Services

Great Lakes Article:

Officials target mercury levels in fish
By John Bronz
South Bend Tribune
Published November 13, 2006


LANSING -- The Department of Community Health (DCH) is having difficulty creating health advisories for imported and locally caught fish because it's hard to determine where the fish is caught.

Take, for example, whitefish caught in the Great Lakes. The Lake Superior whitefish is one of cleanest to eat, measuring less than .005 parts per million (ppm) of mercury.

But for Lake Huron whitefish over 22 inches long it's recommended that pregnant women and children eat only one meal per month, and that men consume less than one per week.

The warning is because of high polychlorinated biphenyls and mercury levels, which are harmful to humans in a variety of ways, such as damage to children's nervous system and brain. In adults, it can cause vomiting, intestinal bleeding and possibly kidney failure.

"One of the biggest problems is determining where the fish come from to give an advisory. But we can't do that because the fish are sent to distribution centers in Chicago and other areas, and we can't tell if the whitefish is Lake Michigan or Huron whitefish," said Corey Groetsch, a DCH toxicologist.

"Most of the fish that are brought to these distribution centers are from all the United States and Canada, and this is usually when the sampling is done."

Federal Drug Administration toxicologist Michael Bolger said, "The Great Lakes are not tested that often. That would be done more at a local level. We take samples from fish that have few samples."

The problem doesn't stop there. Canadian fish imported into Michigan are not tested on a regular basis.

Sea Grant, a Marquette-based, federally funded program through University of Michigan and Michigan State University (MSU) runs programs with the commercial fishing industry. It works with local fisheries, testing mercury and methylmercury levels in lakes and rivers.

District Extension Sea Grant agent Ron Kinnunen said more testing needs to be done on imported Canadian fish because most of their whitefish are caught in inland lakes.

"The few studies done on Canadian fish show higher levels of mercury, but because of the processing centers it's difficult to determine where and how much mercury is in the fish," said Kinnunen.

Inland lakes usually have higher amounts of mercury because of soil and pollution.

 

 

This information is posted for nonprofit educational purposes, in accordance with U.S. Code Title 17, Chapter 1,Sec. 107 copyright laws.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for
purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use," you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Great Lakes environmental information

Return to Great Lakes Directory Home/ Site Map