Mercury questions and answers
Where does mercury come from?
Natural sources of mercury come from things like volcanoes and forest fires. Most man-made sources come from burning of fossil fuels and waste incineration.
How does mercury get into fish?
Mercury is found in virtually all water bodies in the state. Naturally occurring bacteria convert it into a form called methyl mercury which accumulates in tiny organisms eaten by fish. Fish may contain different levels of contaminants based on what they eat and their location, size, and age.
Can I trim or cook fish to get rid of mercury?
No. Mercury accumulates in the muscle tissue of fish. Therefore, trimming excess fat and skinning do not reduce the amount of mercury you consume.
How do I choose which fish to eat?
Small, short-lived species of fish are generally lower in mercury. Freshwater fish such as sunfish (e.g., bluegill, redear sunfish, redbreast sunfish or spotted sunfish) and brown bullhead are usually lower in mercury. Marine fish such as mullet, snappers, pompano, flounder and dolphin are also typically low in mercury. For guidance on choosing fish to eat from restaurants, grocery stores or that you caught please visit the Department of Health Seafood Consumption web page at bit.ly/EatSeafood, or contact DOH at 850-245-4401 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.