Mercury found in Northeast Arkansas fish

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 10:01 AM CST
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BAXTER COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - If you eat certain fish from two Northeast/North Central Arkansas lakes, the Arkansas Department of Health says stop.

The ADH issued the “fish consumption advisory” after some walleye caught on Bull Shoals Lake and Norfork Lake tested positive for mercury.

According to Thursday’s news release, the fish were “found to contain levels of mercury that have the potential to put human health at risk.”

The ADH said, “pregnant women, small children, and those who frequently eat walleye from Bull Shoals or Norfork lakes” are most at risk.

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 5 p.m., the ADH will hold a meeting at the Donald W. Reynolds Library in Mountain Home to address the public’s concerns.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, Director of ADH, says health issues with mercury can take some time for humans to notice.

“The problem with mercury is that it takes a while for the body to eliminate it once you have eaten it. So, it can build up over time, especially if you’re eating a constant supply of fish that have a higher level of mercury in them.”

Dr. Dillaha says this issue could be around the state for a while.

“Arkansas Game and Fish and the Health Department continue to monitor the bodies of water around the state for the presence of mercury in the fish, but as I mentioned, it’s a global problem, and in order for us to solve the problem in Arkansas, we’re going to have to solve the problem of the global sources of mercury.”