Risk Analysis

Human Mercury Toxicity and Ice Angler Fish Consumption: Are People Eating Enough to Cause Health Problems?

Journal Article

Mercury contamination of aquatic ecosystems is a global environmental concern. Bioaccumulation of mercury in fish exposes consumers to risk. We interviewed ice anglers on Monona Bay, Wisconsin during the 2001–2002 ice fishing season to determine risk associated with fish consumption and methyl mercury (MeHg) intake. The majority of anglers (95%) were not at risk of mercury toxicity because they ate less fish than would be required to create health problems. The remaining 5% of ice anglers barely exceeded the mercury toxicity threshold, with the exception of one angler who exceeded the threshold by 0.926 ppm. Anglers encountered were all male and predominantly Caucasian. Fish consumption by ice anglers was independent of awareness of consumption advisories, education, income, and age. This suggests that future awareness efforts should (1) identify groups of anglers most at risk and (2) create policies to effectively reach these audiences.

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