Local News

Mercury prompts warning against eating Lake Gaston fish

Posted November 18, 2009

— North Carolina public health officials have issued a fish consumption advisory for walleye and largemouth bass in Lake Gaston after elevated levels of mercury were found in the fish.

The advisory recommends that pregnant women, nursing women, women who may become pregnant and children under age 15 avoid walleye and largemouth bass from Lake Gaston. Other people should not eat more than two meals a month of walleye or largemouth bass from Lake Gaston.

Mercury is a metal that occurs naturally in the environment and is also released into the environment during some manufacturing processes and when fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) are burned.

Most mercury pollution is released into the air and then falls directly into water bodies or onto land, where it can be washed into waterways. Levels of the metal build up within fish as they eat smaller aquatic organisms and fish.

There is an increased risk of adverse effects to the developing brain of the unborn babies when pregnant women eat fish contaminated with mercury. Young children may also be at risk of adverse neurological effects from eating fish contaminated with mercury.

The mercury contamination in the fish doesn't present a known health risk for anyone engaging in other recreational activities, such as touching the water, wading, swimming, boating, fishing or handling the fish.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • BeenHereSince67 Nov 20, 2009


    You really are a piece of work dude! Every fluorescent light bulb ever made has used mercury to produce ultraviolet light which causes the tube to glow. There is no difference in the operating principle between "standard" and compact fluorescent type bulbs. CFL bulbs uses less than 25% of the energy of a filament bulb. The amount of mercury in them is very very small, much less than that used in the older style "tube" type fluorescent bulbs. They are a valid way to save energy. The source of the mercury in the fish in Lake Gaston is the trace amounts present in the megatons of coal burned to produce power so that you can write your ignorant diatribes against the folks trying to prevent all of us from slowly being poisoned by our everyday life. Oh, and just so you'll know, Walleye and Largemouth Bass are NOT bottom feeders. Catfish and folks like you are however. Rest assured, I'll not be having anything to do with either. You and your ilk are the problem.

  • jbyrd Nov 18, 2009

    Evidence grows every day confirming the "tree hugger econuts" have been pretty close to right all along. AND STILL there are those that don't believe feces stinks until it is shoved up their nose. You really don't believe the contaminants pumped into the air every day by the billions of metric tons by burning coal, wood, and petroleum exhast doesn,t end up in our water and food supplies. GIVE ME A BREAK!!
    But I guess as long as YOU'RE comfortable now it's all that matters.

  • 5-113 FA Retired Nov 18, 2009

    In the words of George Carlin, "gov. studies have determined that saliva causes cancer, but only swallowed in small ammounts over a long time period."

    Clue: don't eat bottom feeders.

  • Faceman Nov 18, 2009

    "Oh for crying out loud. It's cigarettes, its caffene, its pseudophedrine, its saccrine, its vaccines, now its fish. Were all in the process of dying from the day we are born. I am gonna eat my fish day in day out and if I start to glow in the dark I can quit this job and join the circus."


  • TriangleMommy Nov 18, 2009

    Guess this means though Virgina Beach folks won't be begging for Lake Gaston water for their Water supply. The water may technically be safe for swimming in - but if the fish in the water are contaminated, then I'm willing to bet you really don't want to drink the water.

    (What about the other types of fish in LG? I know there are Catfish in that lake. Only these two show elevated Mercury?)

  • bubbba Nov 18, 2009

    I cant help it affirmative. If its food bubbba eats it and deals with consequences later. My dream vacation is to go to Thailand just to eat. I watch them shows about all the weird stuff they sell in open markets. My favorite shows on tv are cooking shows.
    I would even take the swine flu shot if you give me a cookie or cupcake first.

  • affirmativediversity Nov 18, 2009


    I'm usually with you BUT on this I'm not. Mercury is a poison...its not "a pollutant"...which is why I'm completely baffled by the eco zealots carte blanche and even promotion of GE's mercury laced lightbulbs.

    Its not like GE has this great enviro friendly history...heck they are responsible for some of the biggest most toxic slim pits around...that they refuse to clean up!

    But no...the eco zealots and global warming fanatics all embrace GE and their mercury lightbulb...as "the solution"

    I'll take my Sylvannia filliment bulb anyday and turn it off when I'm not in the room to save energy!

  • affirmativediversity Nov 18, 2009

    teacher in wake,

    How about doing away with the mercury laced bulbs all together! Why do we need them...they certainly don't save sufficient energy to justify the pollution risk (and that's with accepting your prattle about coal burning as fact).

  • bubbba Nov 18, 2009

    Oh for crying out loud. It's cigarettes, its caffene, its pseudophedrine, its saccrine, its vaccines, now its fish.
    Were all in the process of dying from the day we are born.
    I am gonna eat my fish day in day out and if I start to glow in the dark I can quit this job and join the circus.

  • teacher in wake Nov 18, 2009

    Yep, affirmativediversity, it is Hg, the same mercury that is in energy saving bulbs. CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury about 4 milligrams in each bulb. Mercury can also be found in (mercury)thermometers and probably your teeth fillings. Problem here is that the majority of mercury plaguing fish comes from burning coal. It falls out into the water and is consumed by micro-organisms, which are consumed by larger and larger fish. The predators have no way to get it out of their system, and levels build up over time. Using less electricity and disposing of the bulbs properly should help reduce mercury levels (or cause them to rise more slowly)