U.S. Geological Survey found mercury contamination in every fish sampled in 291 streams throughout the country. The government’s research report further revealed about 25 percent of the fish tested had mercury levels over the safe human consumption level.

Washington government lawyers alert-U.S. Geological Survey reveals mercury levels found in fish exceed safe human consumption levels.

Washington, D.C.–The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) http://www.doi.gov announced the recent findings of a United States Geological Survey (USGS) http://www.usgs.gov study on August 19, 2009. Scientists sampled fish in 291 streams across the country and found every fish tested was contaminated with mercury, an element extremely toxic to humans. The research study further revealed 25 percent of the fish tested contained mercury levels over the safe human consumption guidelines established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) http://www.epa.gov. The GSPS research also discovered two-thirds of the fish tested exceeded the safe level of mercury for fish-eating mammals.

Additional concern for residents and fishermen near the tea-colored or “blackwater” streams in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina where some of the highest levels of mercury in fish were found. Elevated mercury levels in areas affected by mining were also discovered. The study completed by scientists and researchers with the USGS evaluated mercury contamination in fish, bed sediment, and water from 291 streams throughout the United States between 1998 and 2005. Coal fired power plants are the largest source of mercury emissions in the U.S., and mining of gold and mercury is also a potential contaminate to our nations watersheds and air. The EPA regulates mercury emissions in air, land, and water, and is working to control mercury air emissions from coal-fired power plants through the Clean Air Act.

Consumers, vacationers, and fishermen can go to the EPA’s website to view a national listing of fish advisories, and the complete detailed report of the USGS study can also be found on their website. Employers and industry leaders are required by federal law under the U.S. Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) http://www.osha.gov to follow specific guidelines to maintain a safe and healthy work environment from mercury exposure and poisoning, especially at mines and coal fired power plants. Corporations are held to regulatory emissions standards and waste removal guidelines under the EPA to keep our air, water, and ground safe from mercury pollution and dumping.

Legal news reporter Heather L. Ryan for Washington government lawyers.


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