Earth's Journal

Biosphere Journal Entry

EPA: Too Much Mercury in Fish (September 14, 2004)

fish

Mercury contaminates fish in waters across the United States. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

There's too much mercury in fish in waters in the United States, according to a new study from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). High levels of the toxic metal were found in lakes and rivers in every state except Wyoming and Alaska.

Many studies have shown that mercury is a dangerous health risk, especially for pregnant women and young children. High levels can damage the nervous and reproductive systems.

The survey says 19 states have recently put out warnings about eating fish caught in their lakes because of high mercury levels. Despite the fact that mercury levels are too high, the EPA says mercury emissions actually showed a decrease in 1999 as compared to 1990 levels.

The United States government has proposed lowering mercury emissions 29 percent by the year 2010 and 69 percent by 2018. But many environmentalists say these numbers don't go far enough. Clear the Air, an organization of environmental groups, says the technology now exists to cut mercury emissions by as much as 90 percent by 2008.