FISH CONSUMPTION ADVISORIES 

Issued by the Maine Bureau of Health Environmental Toxicology Program (http://janus.state.me.us/dhs/bohetp/fca.html)

1.  Statewide Fish Consumption Advisory for ALL Inland Waters Due to Mercury Contamination

Mercury is present in fish caught in all inland waters. Mercury is toxic to the nervous system. The unborn fetus and young children are especially sensitive to the toxic effects of mercury because they have actively developing nervous systems. For this reason, one consumption advisory is issued to protect the unborn fetus and young children. A less restrictive advisory is issued for all other individuals (the general population). For both groups, separate advisories are issued regarding warm- water fish (e.g., bass pickerel, perch, sunfish, crappie) versus cold-water fish (e.g., trout, salmon, smelt, cusk). Warm- water species tend to have higher levels of mercury than cold-water species.

2. Dioxins and PCBs

PCBs and Dioxins (chemicals capable of causing cancer, reproductive and other toxic effects) have been found in fish caught in specific waters of the state in amounts warranting consumption advisories. The following advisories are directed to the general population (pregnant women, nursing mothers, women who plan to become pregnant, and young children are cautioned to pay close attention to the usually more stringent mercury advisory).

*A meal is defined as one 8-ounce serving. People who tend to consume larger (older) fish are advised to use the lower limit when a range is given for number of meals because older fish accumulate more PCBs and dioxin.

These advisories are based on 1995 sampling data, and may be revised as new sampling data become available. For more information, contact the Maine Bureau of Health Environmental Toxicology Program at 207-287-6455.

return to Pollution