DHEC warns against consumption of certain fish due to mercury - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

DHEC warns against consumption of certain fish due to mercury

Map of the locations where fish consumption advisories were issued. (Source: SCDHEC.gov) Map of the locations where fish consumption advisories were issued. (Source: SCDHEC.gov)

COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has updated their fish consumption advisory to alert the public which fish is safe and which to avoid.

According to chief of DHEC David Wilson, largemouth bass in Dargan's Pond, Lake George Warren, and Lake Ashwood were added to this year's advisories because of mercury in their tissue. 

Wilson, said, "People can still safely eat fish caught from fish waters if they follow the fish consumption advisory guidelines."

Each advisory is based on one meal (or 8 ounces) of uncooked fish.  Consumption advice is given for a specific species of fish within a water body. The contamination is in the fish and does not make the water unsafe for drinking or recreational uses.

DHEC recommends that individuals eat no more than one meal per month of Bowfin, or mudfish, caught in the Intracoastal Waterway, and no more than one meal per week of Bluegill, Redear Sunfish, and Largemouth Bass caught in the same areas.

Fish contain a large amount of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for an everyday diet.

According to SCDHEC.gov,  DHEC tests fish from South Carolina's lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries, and offshore waters. Saltwater fish samples are collected by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and DHEC. All samples are tested for chemicals to see if any of the fish are contaminated.
They also closely look at the data, and then issues fish consumption advisories where contaminated fish have been found.

DHEC also stated, too much consumption of fish with higher levels of mercury can lead to heart disease in adults.

Wilson said pregnant women, or women who might become pregnant, infants, and children should not eat any fish with an advisory. 

The 2015 Fish Consumption Advisory is available online at www.scdhec.gov/fish. Copies are also available at DHEC county public health departments, DHEC regional offices, DNR district offices, Sportsman's Warehouse in Columbia, Bass Pro Shop in Myrtle Beach, OB/GYN offices, health clinics,and many state parks. For more information about fish consumption advisories, call DHEC's Fish Advisory Hotline toll-free at 1-888-849-7241. 

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