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Mercury Levels In Fish At New Hogan Lake Prompts Advisory

Valley Springs, CA — The state has put out an advisory when it comes to three species of fish in New Hogan Lake in Calaveras County.

The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has new recommendations based on the levels of mercury measured in fish from the lake.

Dr. Lauren Ziese, the Director of OEHHA, says, “These guidelines are designed to balance the health benefits of eating fish against the risks from exposure to mercury in fish caught from New Hogan Lake.

The fish identified as having high mercury levels are black bass, sunfish and channel catfish.

Information directly from OEHHA:

“When consuming fish from New Hogan Lake, women ages 18-45 and children ages 1-17 may safely eat one serving per week of Channel Catfish or sunfish species.  Women younger than 46 and children younger than 18 should not eat any black bass species from New Hogan Lake, which have high levels of mercury.

Women age 46 and older and men age 18 and older may safely eat three servings per week of sunfish species, or two servings per week of Channel Catfish, or one serving per week of black bass species.

One serving is eight ounces prior to cooking, which for fish fillets is roughly the size and thickness of your hand.  Children should be given smaller servings.

Mercury is a naturally occurring metal that is released into the environment from mining and burning coal, and accumulates in fish in the form of methylmercury.  Methylmercury can damage the brain and nervous system, especially in developing children and fetuses.

Eating fish in amounts slightly greater than the advisory’s recommendations is not likely to cause health problems if it is done occasionally, such as eating fish caught during an annual vacation.”

The New Hogan Lake advisory joins a list of 80 other OEHHA advisories currently in place across California. The OEHHA is the primary state entity for the assessment of risks posed by chemical contaminants in the environment.