Advisory: Toxic mercury levels found in fish caught in Gulf of Mexico

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 9:00pm

The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued an advisory warning people not to consume or to limit consumption of certain fish caught in all waters off the Texas coast (including th Gulf of Mexico) due to unsafe levels of mercury.

Women of childbearing age, including women who are nursing, and children under 12 years old should not consume certain fish off the Texas coast. The advisory recommends women past childbearing age and adult men limit their consumption of fish from this area to no more than one or two meals per month. A meal is 8 ounces of fish. (See chart below for specific recommendations.)

The advisory was issued after testing revealed that fish examined from the northwestern Gulf of Mexico contained mercury at concentrations that exceed DSHS health guidelines of 0.7 mg/kg in the following species: shark (all species), blackfin tuna, blue marlin, little tunny, crevalle jack, king mackerel, swordfish, and wahoo. Regular or long-term consumption of these fish may result in serious adverse health effects.

Mercury is a naturally occurring element that can also be a byproduct of human activity. If consumed regularly, it can cause harmful effects to the central nervous system, particularly in children including those exposed before birth. Symptoms of prolonged exposure include liver damage, tingling of the skin, loss of coordination, visual and hearing impairment, slurred speech and other damage to the brain and nervous system.

To view the map, advisory and other information about fish testing, go to

Note: Advisories are already in place for blue marlin, swordfish, and king mackerel caught off the Texas coast. Consumption recommendations for these fish are included in the link provided above.


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