The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 10, 2013

Mercury study findings to be presented to Grand Lake community

Fish did not contain harmful levels for consumption

MIAMI, Okla. — Community meetings will be held Wednesday and Thursday to explain the findings from the Grand Lake Watershed Mercury Study.

The study, funded by a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, was conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, L.E.A.D. Agency, and OU Health Sciences Center to determine mercury levels in fish from the Grand Lake watershed and mercury exposure in people who regularly eat fish from the watershed.

“This research study has been the most comprehensive in scope conducted in the state for any watershed and will serve as a model for others,” said Dr. Robert Lynch, with the OU Health Sciences Center.

Research team members will be available from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Wyandotte Tribal Nutrition Center, 64700 East Highway 60, Wyandotte, and from 3 to 4:45 p.m. at the GRDA Eco Center, 420 Highway 28, Langley.

The team will be available from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday at Grove City Hall, 104 W. Third St., Grove, and from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Peoria Tribal Office, 118 S. Eight Tribes Trail, Miami.

“Our results are good news for the Grand Lake community. The fish we tested generally did not contain mercury levels of concern for people with average rates of fish consumption,” said Dr. Laurel Schaider, a member of the research team.

 “Mercury levels in most fish from Grand Lake and Lake Hudson were lower than those found in many other lakes in Oklahoma, according to results from Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.”

People who eat a lot of fish, especially large flatheads, may want to eat smaller fish and eat a variety of fish. In general, people who eat fish from Grand Lake are not exposed to high levels of mercury in their diet.

Methylmercury, the form of mercury commonly found in fish, is a neurotoxin that has been shown to affect the cognitive development of children so pregnant women, women of childbearing age and children under 15 should be mindful of guidelines that will help limit their exposure to mercury from fish.

The study did find levels of mercury above federal guidelines for children and women of childbearing age in 3 percent of the roughly 1,000 fish tested. Those species included flathead catfish, largemouth bass, blue catfish and drum.

In a previous report on the sampling, the concentrations of mercury in the fish were incorrectly reported in The Joplin Globe. Flathead catfish longer than 30 inches registered the highest mercury levels, averaging 276 parts per billion, while smaller flatheads averaged 188 parts per billion. Drum averaged 118 parts per billion, and largemouth bass averaged 84 parts per billion.

Based on the EPA guideline that mercury levels should not exceed 300 parts per billion for sensitive populations, the study recommended that children or women of childbearing age eat large flathead catfish no more than twice a month, smaller catfish and drum no more than once a week, and largemouth bass no more than twice a week.

The study, which started three years ago, involved about 150 participants recruited by the L.E.A.D. Agency in Miami. Those people completed questionnaires and kept diaries to track their fish consumption — 64 percent ate fish at least once a week, with 65 percent coming from local sources. They also permitted hair samples to be taken for testing.

Rebecca Jim, executive director of L.E.A.D. Agency, said, “We were able to analyze individual fish that are brought in as samples, and provide results to the fisherman about the fish they were eating.”


Text Only
Local News
  • Ballot issues dominate GOP event

    A maze of campaign yard signs lined the sidewalk at Big Spring Park, leading up to a line of local candidates for public office with rolled-up sleeves shaking hands with potential voters.

    July 24, 2014

  • Mike Pound: It’s time for some football

    The arrests, the announced suspensions and the contract disputes can mean only one thing: Somebody is ready for some football.

    July 24, 2014

  • Landfill opponents seek answers

    The Baxter Springs High School auditorium was filled with hundreds of Cherokee County residents Thursday night as Galena city officials answered questions and listened to comments regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 24, 2014

  • Hanaway says leadership missing under Gov. Nixon

    When Republican gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Hanaway walked into the banquet room at Granny Shaffer’s Restaurant this week, she was greeted by some of Joplin’s more prominent business leaders.

    July 24, 2014

  • Neosho athletes bring home silver

    For 19-year-old Dominque Dechant, it was the trip of a lifetime. She and three other athletes from Neosho traveled last month to Newark, New Jersey, as part of the Missouri Special Olympics girls basketball team.

    July 24, 2014

  • r072414msw.jpg VIDEO: Carterville company expands to third generation

    What began as Ray “Mac” McCoy’s side job in his home 55 years ago has grown not only in square footage and reach, but in generations. This summer, a third generation took over the reins of MSW — Mac’s Specialty Woodwork — that now exceeds 90,000 square feet and creates custom furniture for chain restaurants coast to coast.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shrine Bowl band, cheerleaders, players arrive in Pittsburg this week

    Band members were the first Kansas Shrine Bowl participants to arrive at Pittsburg State University this week.

    July 24, 2014

  • Galena council rescinds landfill decisions

    The Galena City Council voted Wednesday to rescind decisions it made two weeks ago regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 23, 2014

  • Miami council waives fees for barbecue event

    The Miami City Council voted Tuesday to waive $3,750 in usage fees for Miami Elks Lodge No. 1320 for an upcoming barbecue championship at the Miami Fairgrounds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Carthage prepares for Marian Days

    The 37th annual Marian Days celebration will start in two weeks, and planning is well under way for the event that will bring tens of thousands of Catholics of Vietnamese descent to Carthage.

    July 23, 2014

Must Read


Amendment 8 in Missouri proposes a special lottery ticket to help fund state veterans homes. How will you vote?

For it.
Against it.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter