State Health Director Issues Fish Consumption Advisory

The North Carolina State Health Director issued a fish consumption advisory on Wednesday for walleye and largemouth bass in Lake Gaston, which is located between north-central North Carolina and south-central Virginia. Elevated levels of mercury have recently been found in walleye in this lake. Previous studies have found elevated levels of mercury in largemouth bass in all waters of North Carolina, including Lake Gaston. The advisory recommends that pregnant women, nursing women, women who may become pregnant, and children under age 15 should not eat any walleye or largemouth bass from Lake Gaston. Other people should not eat more than two meals a month of walleye or largemouth bass from Lake Gaston. The advisory was issued because there is an increased risk of adverse effects to the developing brain of the unborn babies of pregnant women who eat fish contaminated with mercury. Young children may also be at risk of adverse neurological effects from eating fish contaminated with mercury.

The North Carolina Division of Public Health (DPH) analyzed the environmental data and fish sampling data from Lake Gaston, and recommends additional fish sampling in the lake as soon as possible for other fish species. Fish sampling is also recommended in Kerr Lake, Roanoke Rapids Lake, and the Roanoke River below Lake Gaston. Once the data is analyzed, DPH will decide whether additional fish consumption advisories are necessary.

Fish consumption advisories are posted on the N.C. Public Health website at http://www.epi.state.nc.us/epi/fish.

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