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Delta fish have most mercury in California

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POSTED June 3, 2013 12:06 a.m.

STOCKTON  (AP) — Sport fish from rivers and streams in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have higher levels of mercury in their systems than fish taken from anywhere else in California, a new survey has found.

Researchers for the State Water Resources Control Board in 2011 surveyed 16 species from 63 locations. The study found that Sacramento pikeminnow, smallmouth, largemouth and striped bass from the Delta watershed had the highest concentrations of mercury in their tissues.

The state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment lists mercury as unsafe for frequent consumption, especially for children and women of child-bearing age. Studies have shown that even low doses can affect a child’s motor skills and cause learning disabilities. Mercury also has been blamed for fertility and memory problems in adults.

Freshwater fish in California have absorbed mercury that leached into waterways from 19th and early 20th Century mines.

The sites with the most contaminated

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