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Contact Region 9

Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Children's Health and Mercury

Fish magnet

"Fish For Your Health" magnets now available! This magnet provides the EPA Fish Advisories website address and a message on the risks and benefits of fish consumption. You can order these complimentary magnets from the National Center for Environmental Publications (ncepimal@one.net) or call (800) 490-9198. Specify document #EPA-823-E-05-003 when ordering.

National Links

Video For Children
"Don't Mess With Mercury"

Public service announcement directed at youth

Mercury spills occur across the country, sometimes as a result of children finding mercury and handling it. Mercury contamination is a serious health risk. This video was produced specifically for children to strongly communicate that children should never touch mercury.

On this page:

Overview

Methylmercury, the form of mercury which accumulates in the food chain, is highly toxic. The developing human fetus is acutely sensitive to the effects of mercury, so women of child-bearing age are the population of greatest concern. Children of women exposed to relatively high levels of methylmercury during pregnancy are at greater risk for a variety of developmental and learning disorders. Women can accumulate methylmercury in their blood as a result of eating fish containing high levels of methylmercury.

An important part of reducing methylmercury exposure is keeping the public informed. These pages are intended to provide information about fish advisories within Pacific Southwestern states, general information about reducing exposure to mercury, and highlight some key programs and studies underway in the Pacific Southwest.

Arizona

Arizona Game and Fish: Public advisories Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
Provides fish advisories for Arizona.

California

Mercury in Fish Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

California's Proposition 65
Proposition 65 was enacted as a ballot initiative in November 1986. The Proposition was intended to protect California citizens and the State's drinking water sources from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and to inform citizens about exposures to such chemicals. The law prohibits businesses from discharging such chemicals into sources of drinking water, and requires that warnings be given to individuals exposed to them. Proposition 65 requires the Governor to publish, at least annually, a list of chemicals known the state to cancer or reproductive toxicity.

Mercury was added to the Proposition 65 list in 1990 based on its developmental effects. Recently, California's Attorney General, Bill Lockyer, sued a number of California grocery stores for selling or distributing fresh or frozen swordfish, ahi (yellowfin) tuna, albacore tuna, and shark. These types of fish contain mercury and methylmerucy compounds, which are ingested by persons eating them.

The California Environmental Health Tracking Program (CEHTP)
CEHTP was created in response to a state legislative mandate, Senate Bill 702. The focus of this effort is improving collection, integration and analysis of both environmental hazards and health outcomes in the State of California. This project is in its earlier stages, but mercury has been identified as one of many environmental contaminants of interest. More information about this effort is available at

California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA): Mercury in Fish
EHHA has a number of resources related to mercury in fish. OEHHA provides specific consumption advice for fish taken in areas where high levels of chemicals have been found in fish. However, because contamination levels are unknown for many locations, OEHHA also provides general advice on how to reduce exposure to chemicals in noncommercial fish, referred to as sport fish.

California Department of Health Services Environmental Health Investigations Branch (EHIB)
This site contains fact sheets about mercury in fish, a description of the San Francisco Bay fish consumption study, and local contact information.

Nevada

Nevada State Health Division: health advisories
General information about mercury in fish and updates of fish advisories in Nevada.

Incidents in Nevada Schools

Additional Resources

Fish advisories for mercury for all states in the nation

Mercury In Schools Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
A number of mercury resources specific to EPA Region 9. General information, fish advisories, mercury deposition maps and additional mercury resources are available.

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