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Reports and Fact Sheets about Fish Consumption and Human Health

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EPA develops and analyzes data to learn more about how contaminants in water bodies can affect human health through fish and shellfish consumption. EPA, in turn, provides information to the scientific community and the general public about safe consumption of fish and shellfish.

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Estimated Fish Consumption Rates for the U.S. Population and Selected Subpopulations (NHANES 2003-2010)

EPA has released an update to its 2000 fish consumption rates analysis. Fish consumption rates included in this revised analysis reflect two significant changes to the methodology:

  1. New data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC), National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), and survey cycles from 2003 to 2010
  2. New, more accurate state-of-the-science methodology
lady with baby and book

Trends in Blood Mercury Concentrations and Fish Consumption Among U.S. Women of Reproductive Age (EPA NHANES, July 2013)

This report presents the results of a study on trends in blood mercury levels in women of childbearing age from 1999 to 2010. The data showed that mercury levels in women of childbearing age dropped 34 percent from a survey conducted in 1999-2000 to follow-up surveys conducted from 2001 to 2010.

Additionally, the percentage of women of childbearing age with blood mercury levels above the level of concern decreased 65 percent from the 1999-2000 survey and the follow-up surveys from 2001-2010. During the survey period there was very little change in the amount of fish consumed.

Assessment of Mercury in Fish Tissue from Pacific Northwest Lakes (February 2016)

EPA collected predator fish species from a subset of the lakes that were sampled for ecological condition as part of the National Lakes Assessment 2012 in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The fish tissue was analyzed for mercury to determine concentrations in recreational fish species. These data are used to address the following questions:

  1. What are mercury concentrations in fillet tissue of common sportfish from lakes in the Pacific Northwest states (Idaho, Oregon, and Washington) that are used by the public for fishing?
  2. What is the estimated percentage of PNW lakes with mercury concentrations in sportfish tissue that are above levels of potential concern for humans?
  3. What is the trend in fish mercury concentration in these lakes over time?

Mid-Columbia River Fish Toxics Assessment (March 2017)

This study provides a baseline understanding of toxic contamination in fish tissue in the Mid-Columbia River between the Bonneville Dam and Grand Coulee Dam.

Idaho Tribal Fish Consumption (December 2016)

This survey documents current and heritage (i.e. historic) fish consumption rates for tribes in Idaho. It includes current and heritage fish consumption rates and fishing-related activities of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and Nez Perce Tribe; and heritage rates for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho.

Chemical-specific Fact Sheets

The fact sheets below are summaries of information on sources, fate and transport, occurrence in human tissues, range of concentrations in fish tissue, fish advisories, fish consumption limits, toxicity, and regulations. The fact sheets also illustrate how this information may be used to develop fish consumption advisories.

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