Alaska Public Health Issues fish consumption Guidelines

Today, on Oct. 15th the joint departments of Public Health and Social Services (HSS) and Dept of Environmental Conservation (DEC) published a news release with new fish consumption guidelines.  The news release states that “the health benefits from eating fish far outweigh any potential risk from the small amounts of contaminants found in most Alaska fish.”  The concern is over the wide variation of mercury content among the 23 species of fish sampled from Alaska waters between 2001 and 2006.  Mercury is very low in all species of Alaska salmon and the State’s ongoing free program that monitors mercury levels in the hair of Alaska women has received no reports of unsafe mercury levels.

“Only five species of sport-caught Alaska fish had high enough mercury levels to warrant limiting consumption to two meals or less per week for these sensitive groups (women who are or can become pregnant, nursing mothers and children under the age of 12).  Yelloweye rockfish, large lingcod (40-45 inches) and large halibut (50-90 lbs) can be eaten as often as twice a week , while salmon shark and spiny dogfish, very large lingcod (over 45 inches) and very large halibut (over 90 pounds) can be consumed as often as once a week.  Because commerically caught halibut weigh an average of about 33 pounds, halibut purchased from stores or restaurants is safe for this group to eat up to four times a week.”

HSS Fish Facts and Consumption guidelines homepage:  http://www.epi.hss.state.ak.us/eh/fish/default.htm

News release:  http://www.hss.alaska.gov/press/2007/pdf/pr101507fish-consumption.pdf

 

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