State officials say that women who are pregnant and children under 6 years old should limit their intake of fish from the lake to no more than two meals of up to 8 ounces of fish per month, and all other people should eat no more than six portions per month.
An 8-ounce serving of fish is equivalent to the size of two decks of playing cards. According to an analysis completed by the Utah Department of Health, eating more than the amounts noted in the advisories, over a long period of time, could result in an intake of mercury that exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency health recommendations, according to a press release from the agency.
Mercury is a naturally occurring element that can be transformed into methyl mercury, a toxic form found in some natural waters. Those most vulnerable to the effects of mercury toxicity include women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children. Chronic exposure to low concentrations of methyl mercury may result in neurological effects in the developing fetus and children.
Any health risks associated with eating fish from the fish advisory areas are based on long-term consumption and are not tied to eating fish occasionally. Eating fish remains an important part of a healthy diet. The American Heart Association recommends individuals eat at least two fish or seafood meals weekly.
There is no health risk associated with mercury in the water for other uses of the waterways, such as swimming, boating, and waterskiing.
After testing hundreds of water bodies, health officials have found that fewer than 10 percent of Utah’s tested waters have fish with elevated levels of mercury in their tissue.
Not all water bodies have been tested, and further testing may result in additional advisories. Utah fish consumption advisories are issued in partnership among the Utah Department of Health, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, and the Utah Department of Natural Resources.
For a complete list of all Utah Mercury Fish Consumption Advisories visit www.fishadvisories.utah.gov.