General Information

Fish Eating Guidelines

Make sure you choose the safest fish to eat!

By far, the most common route of mercury exposure in humans is eating fish contaminated by methylmercury, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Photo: OEHHAMercury in waterways can be converted by certain bacteria to more toxic methylmercury, which accumulates in the tissue of fish as it passes over their gills and as they feed on other aquatic organisms. As larger fish eat smaller ones, concentrations of the pollutant increase in the bigger fish, a process known as bioaccumulation. Thus, mercury enters the food chain and becomes concentrated.

Because the entire Lower Sacramento River region is impaired due to high mercury concentrations in fish, those who consume fish regularly must be aware that fish in certain areas or fish of certain types may be unsafe for frequent consumption, especially for children and women of child-bearing age.

Safe-Eating Guidelines

Photo: US EPAFor information regarding mercury in fish, including safe eating guidelines and advisories for specific water bodies, visit OEHHA Safe Eating Guidelines.

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board also provides useful information on the Delta Mercury Exposure Reduction Program.

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