The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 9, 2013

Study analyzes mercury levels of fish caught in Grand Lake

By Susan Redden
sredden@joplinglobe.com

BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — When it comes to eating fish caught from Grand Lake, letting the big one get away may not be a bad idea.

That’s according to a study of mercury levels in fish that was released today during a meeting of the Spring River Watershed group in Baxter Springs, Kan.

Study results, presented by Robert Lynch, with the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, showed fish from the Grand Lake watershed generally do not have high levels of mercury. But analyses did find levels of mercury over federal guidelines for children and women of childbearing age in 3 percent of the nearly 1,000 fish tested. Those species included flathead catfish, largemouth bass, blue catfish and drum.

“Mercury accumulates over time, so the bigger fish had more mercury,” Lynch said.

The study started four years ago and included analysis of fish taken from the lake and tests of hair samples from volunteers around the lake who eat fish.

Two public presentations on test results are set for Wednesday, June 12, one starting at 11:45 a.m. at the Wyandotte Tribal Nutrition Center in Wyandotte, Okla., and another starting at 3 p.m. at the GRDA Eco Center in Langley, Okla.

Two presentations also are set for Thursday, June 13, one at 9 a.m. at Grove, Okla., City Hall and another at 2 p.m. at the Peoria Tribal Office in Miami, Okla.