The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

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.”

 

1
Text Only
Top Stories
  • r072214soroptimist3.jpg Volunteers spend week providing camp experience to foster youths

    Karen McGlamery is a massage therapist. Terri Falis-Cochran is a finance manager. Jane McCaulley is a retired art teacher. But for a week each summer, the three are among dozens of area residents who become camp counselors.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose tours downtown Diamond

    A lost llama on the lam hoofed it down Main Street here today before it took refuge in a fenced yard that had only one way in and out.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Neosho school board hires company to manage substitutes

    Citing its hopes of shifting health care costs and utilizing more time from retired teachers, the Neosho Board of Education granted a contract Monday to a temporary employee company to manage its substitute teacher program.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin school board reviews audit procedures

    A team from the Missouri State Auditor’s Office has begun requesting documents in its task to audit the operations and management of the Joplin School District, the audit manager told the Board of Education on Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Cherokee County Commission accepts general counsel's resignation

    Kevin Cure, who has served as general counsel for the Cherokee County Commission since 2005, submitted a handwritten resignation to the board on Monday in the aftermath of a landfill controversy.

    July 22, 2014

  • Thunderstorms possible overnight in Joplin area

    Thunderstorms are expected to develop across northern Missouri late today and could move south into the area this evening and overnight, according to a hazardous weather outlook issued this afternoon by the National Weather Service.

    July 22, 2014

  • 071514 KC Atkins 3.jpg SLIDESHOW: Treasures of Tut Through Sept. 7, “The Discovery of King Tut” will draw tens of thousands of visitors to Kansas City’s Union Station to discover the history and mystery of the most famous Pharaoh who ever reigned over the Nile Valley.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast Iraq_Cast(4).jpg Iraq Christians flee with little more than clothes

    Iraqi Christians who fled the northern city of Mosul rather than convert to Islam by a deadline imposed by extremist militants said they had to leave most of their belongings behind and gunmen stole much of what they did manage to take along.

    July 22, 2014 4 Photos

  • Kevin Cure resigns as counsel for county commission in wake of Galena landfill debate

    In the wake of a Cherokee County landfill controversy, Kevin Cure, who has served as general counsel for the county’s Board of Commissioners since 2005, submitted a hand-written resignation to the board on Monday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Area residents pessimistic about state of the economy

    Joplin’s employment rate is better than the statewide average, but many area residents “still feel like they’re in a recession,” an economist told a group of public officials and business leaders today.

    July 22, 2014