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ADPH releases 2009 fish advisories

By By Chandler Myers
Anyone considering fishing in or around Escambia County might need to rethink their decision after the Alabama Department of Public Health released their 2009 Fish Consumption Advisories last week.
A new consumption advisory has been issued for the entirety Escambia County by the Alabama Department of Public Health area to protect the public from possible exposure to mercury.
The new advisory for Escambia County has been issued for largemouth bass in Burnt Corn Creek along with confluence of Murder Creek.
The consumption level for this fish is being listed as one meal per month.
Also consumption advisories in effect for Big Escambia Creek, Little Escambia Creek and Blackwater River that were issued in previous years remain in effect.
The fish of concern in the advisories are largemouth bass in Big Escambia Creek and Little Escambia Creek and spotted bass in Blackwater River. Each could contain mercury and are also only to be consumed once a month.
According to a press release from the ADPH, the Alabama Department of Public Health annually updates fish consumption advisories based on data collected the preceding fall by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
ADEM collected samples of specific fish species from various bodies of water throughout the state during the fall of 2008.
ADPH assessed the analytical results to determine whether any of the tested contaminants in the fish could give rise to potential human health effects.
Beginning with the 2007 advisories, ADPH adopted a contaminant level for mercury in fish that would protect those who might consider eating more than one fish meal per week.
The new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards are four times more protective than FDA levels previously used. New advisories are issued in terms of the number of meals a particular fish can safely be eaten in a given period of time, such as meals per week, meals per month or no consumption.
A meal portion consists of 6 ounces of cooked fish or 8 ounces of raw fish. Other advisories have been updated to reflect the EPA consumption levels for mercury-contaminated fish.
Other areas in the vicinity of Escambia County that have fish advisories include Fish River (Baldwin County), Blackwater River (Baldwin County), Bon Secour River (Baldwin County), Conecuh River (Escambia County), Cowpen Creek (Baldwin County, Perdido River (Baldwin County), Polecat Creek (Baldwin County), Sepulga River (Escambia County) and Styx River (Baldwin County).
For more information contact the Alabama Department of Public Health at 334-206-5973 or visit their Web site at www.adph.org.