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Utah reservoir, 2 fish species contain elevated levels of mercury

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SALT LAKE CITY — Officials released an advisory Tuesday after a Utah reservoir and two additional fish species were discovered with elevated levels of mercury.

Flaming Gorge Reservoir was added as a new location to Utah’s Mercury Fish Consumption Advisory list after elevated levels of mercury were discovered in the smallmouth bass in the reservoir, according to a Utah Fish Advisories news release. Tiger muskies in Joes Valley Reservoir and smallmouth bass in the Upper Enterprise Reservoir were also added to the advisory list.

The individuals most vulnerable to the effects of mercury toxicity include women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant, nursing mothers and young children, the release said. Chronic exposure to methylmercury in fish can result in neurological effects in a developing fetus or in children.

The Utah Department of Health said the health risks associated with eating fish with high mercury levels are a result of long-term consumption. The health risks have not been linked to only occasionally eating the fish.

After testing hundreds of Utah bodies of water, health officials found that fewer than 10 percent have fish with elevated levels of mercury in their tissue.

Officials reported there is no health risk associated with swimming, boating or water skiing in bodies of water that contain mercury.

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Faith Heaton Jolley

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