State Health Officials Issue Warning of Mercury in Gulf Fish - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

State Health Officials Issue Warning of Mercury in Gulf Fish

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CORPUS CHRISTI (Kiii News) -

State health officials issued a health warning Wednesday concerning unsafe levels of mercury being found in certain fish caught in the waters off the Gulf Coast.

Pregnant women and children under the age of 12 are being told to stay away from any shark meat, black-fin tuna and other big game fish caught in the Gulf.

Scientists said they have been examining fish from Mexico all the way up the coast, and have found mercury in a number of fish, at levels that well exceed health guidelines.

"There's no way of knowing, at this point, how long it's going to last, but they're going to continue to monitor, and the minute things become safe again we'll let the public know," Public Health Authority Dr. William Burgin said.

Mercury is a toxic substance that can cause liver damage and damage to the brain and nervous system. Below is a complete list of the fish that are affected. Childbearing women and children under the age 12 should not eat any of them:

  • Blackfin Tuna - Women past childbearing and adult men can have two meals per month.
  • Blue Marlin - Do not eat.
  • Little tunny (bonito) - Women past childbearing and adult men can have two meals per month.
  • Crevalle Jack - Women past childbearing and adult men can have two meals per month.
  • King Mackerel smaller than 35 inches - Women past childbearing and adult men can have one meal per week.
  • King Mackerel larger than 35 inches - Women past childbearing and adult men can have two meals per month.
  • Shark (all species) - Women past childbearing and adult men can have two meals per month.
  • Swordfish - Women past childbearing and adult men can have two meals per month.
  • Wahoo - Women past childbearing and adult men can have two meals per month.

Women of childbearing age and children less than 12 years of age or who weigh less than 75 pounds should use caution when eating large cobia or yellowfin tune. Mean mercury concentrations for these fish do not exceed the DSHS guidelines for protection of human health, but limited mercury data indicate that eating large cobia or yellowfin tuna may pose significant health risks.

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