WASHINGTON, Aug 04, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Mercury found in more than half of all freshwater fish sampled in the United States means fish is unsafe for women of childbearing age to eat twice a week.
The Environmental Protection Agency data indicate more than three-quarters of the fish sampled also had mercury levels that may be unhealthy for children younger than 3, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
The data, collected between 1999 and 2001 on 2,547 fish from 260 lakes, are part of the first-ever nationwide study the EPA has conducted on freshwater fish in an ongoing four-year project.
"It's a public health imperative to reduce mercury emissions as quickly as possible," said Emily Figdor, a policy analyst for Clear the Air, which compiled the EPA findings.
The new numbers represent the latest evidence that mercury emissions pose a public health threat, the environmentalists said.
Copyright 2004 by United Press International.