Study Finds More Mercury in Freshwater Fish

American streams are home to mercury-filled fish, but what's the risk to you?

ByMarie Savard, Jessica Hoffman and Lara Naaman via via logo
August 19, 2009, 10:32 PM

Aug. 21, 2009— -- A study released by the U.S. Geological Survey found mercury in every freshwater fish from nearly 300 streams that were tested, an astonishing result because mercury has usually been associated with large saltwater fish.

"We were surprised to find mercury in every fish. And what surprised us even more is that about a quarter of the fish contain mercury at levels above the EPA safe level," said Donna Myers of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Click here to ask "Good Morning America" medical contributor Dr. Marie Savard your health questions.

After testing mercury levels in more than 1,000 fish over seven years, the USGS is warning Americans to limit the amount of large, predator freshwater fish they eat, such as large-mouth bass, pickerel, walleye and some catfish.

"People should be more aware of the kinds of fish they are eating, how frequently they are eating them, and to become more educated on where they are getting their fish," said Myers.

In response to the report, the National Fisheries Institute released a statement emphasizing the difference between the fish tested and the fish most Americans are likely to eat.

"It's important to note that this study is not about commercial seafood but recreationally-caught fish; not the kind Americans are likely to find at their grocery stores or in restaurants," the National Fisheries Institute said in a statement.

"If you have a family member that's out there fishing in a stream, beware," "Good Morning America" medical contributor Dr. Marie Savard said. "But that's not what you're buying at the supermarket."

Click Here for a List of Fish that Contain High and Low Amounts of Mercury

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events