WASHINGTON More than one-fourth
of the nation's lakes have advisories warning consumers
that fresh-caught fish may be contaminated with mercury,
dioxins, or other chemicals, the Environmental Protection
Agency said on Tuesday.
The EPA said state regulators issued 2,618 fishing
advisories or bans in 2001 because of contaminants.
Eating fish that contain high concentrations of mercury,
dioxins, PCBs, and other industrial chemicals can be
especially harmful to pregnant women and children, according
to the EPA.
In 2001, the state advisories covered 28 percent of
the nation's total lake acreage, up from 26 percent
in 2000, the EPA said. Some 14 percent of U.S. rivers
were covered by advisories in 2001, up from 10.5 percent
in the previous year.
States that had the most fishing advisories include
Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Georgia,
Florida, Texas, Nebraska, and New Jersey.
Some of the affected waterways include Lake Champlain,
Florida's Sarasota Bay, Washington's Puget Sound, and
the Potomac River which feeds into Maryland's Chesapeake
Bay, the EPA said.
State regulators have several options when contaminated
fish are found in a waterway or lake, depending on the
chemical and amount. The states can ban eating all fish
from a certain area, advise pregnant women to avoid
eating a specific kind of fish, or urge consumers to
eat smaller amounts of fish caught in a particular section
of a waterway.
Details about state fishing
advisories were posted by the EPA on its Internet