Pacific Southwest, Region 9
Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations
Mercury and Health
On this page:
Mercury is an element that is still found readily throughout the environment, including in your everyday community life such as the dental office or the hospital. Mercury can bioaccumulate in certain types of fish which are commonly consumed here in the Pacific Southwest. The resources on this page can help you understand the sources of mercury in your community (TRI report), how to protect your family’s health (fish consumption advisories) and how medical and dental practices and public agencies are taking action to reduce mercury in your community.
- Hospitals for a Healthy Environment - Mercury Tools and Resources
- New federal regulations greatly reduce the amount of mercury that is allowed to be discharged from a municipal wastewater system or an incinerator. By implementing the best management practices described in this manual, you can reduce the level of mercury in the environment and avoid the need for increased regulations in the years to come.
- Guide to Mercury Assessment and Elimination in Healthcare Facilities (PDF) (79 pp, 1.9MB)
Developed by the California Department of Health Services
- Mercury and Mercury Compounds Report: 2004 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) (PDF) (4 pp, 50K), About PDF
Fish Consumption Advice Resources
EPA/FDA fish consumption advisories ('What you need to know" brochures in several languages and other valuable information)
U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Seafood Information (Technical documents regarding levels of mercury and other substances found in seafood)
General Fish Consumption Recommendations
By following the following three recommendations for selecting and eating fish or shellfish, women and young children will receive the benefits of eating fish and shellfish and be confident that they have reduced their exposure to the harmful effects of mercury.
- Do not eat Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.
- Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.
- Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.
- Another commonly eaten fish, albacore ("white") tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week.
Follow these same recommendations when feeding fish and shellfish to your young child, but serve smaller portions.
Environmentally Responsible Dentistry
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