The California Enviornmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment released an update on the qualifications of consumption for multiple fish species in Pyramid Lake.
OEHHA’s recommendations were based on the levels of mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls found in fish caught from the lakes.
According to the OEHHA, mercury is released into the environment from mining and burning coal. Methylmercury, the form of mercury accumulated in fish, can damage the brain and nervous system. This can especially affect developing children and fetuses.
PCBs are a group of industrial chemicals that persist in the environment from spills, leaks or improper disposal, despite being banned in the United States in the late 1970s.
PCBs accumulate in the skin, fat and some internal organs of fish. OEHHA recommends eating only the skinless fillet portion of PCB-contaminated fish.
“Many fish have nutrients that may reduce the risk of heart disease and are excellent sources of protein,” said OEHHA Director Lauren Zeise. “By following our guidelines for fish caught in Pyramid Lake, people can safely eat fish low in chemical contaminants and enjoy the well-known health benefits of fish consumption.”
The advisory for Pyramid Lake provided safe-eating advice for the following species: black bass species, bullhead species, catfish species, rainbow trout, striped bass and sunfish species.
One serving is an 8-ounce fish fillet, measured prior to cooking, according to the OEHHA. Several individual small fish species may make up a single serving.
The following is advised by the OEHHA when consuming fish from Pyramid Lake:
- Women ages 18-49 and children ages 1-17 should not eat black bass species, bullhead species or striped bass.
- Women ages 18-49 and children ages 1-17 may safely eat a maximum of five total servings of rainbow trout or one total serving per week of catfish species or sunfish species.
- Women ages 50 and older and men ages 18 and older should not eat bullhead species.
- Women ages 50 and older and men ages 18 and older may safely eat a maximum of seven total per week of catfish species or one total serving per week of black bass species or striped bass.
This advisory is separate from any advisory due to freshwater or estuarine harmful algal blooms that limit fish intake. To view HABs-related advisories for fish intake, visit bit.ly/2J2PqXL.
Fish advisories are available at oehha.ca.gov/fish/advisories.