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Houston County Courier - Local News

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Fish consumption advisory issued for Neches River Basin
Houston County Courier

The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued a fish consumption advisory for portions of the Neches River Basin, including Sam Rayburn Reservoir and B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir. The advisory covers six species of fish caught between the SH 7 bridge west of Lufkin downstream to the U.S. Highway 96 bridge near Evadale and both reservoirs. It was issued after laboratory testing of fish samples found elevated levels of mercury and dioxins. DSHS recommends people limit or avoid consumption of these species as outlined below because eating contaminated fish can be a health hazard. Women of Childbearing age and children under the age of 12 years should not eat blue catfish >30 inches, flathead catfish, gar (all species), largemouth bass >16 inches, smallmouth buffalo or spotted bass >16 inches. Guidelines for women past childbearing age and adult men include the following: blue catfish >30 inches, two 8-oz. meals/month; flathead catfish, one 8-oz. meal/month; gar (all species), one 8-oz. meal/month; largemouth bass >16 inches, two 8-oz. meals/month; smallmouth buffalo, Do Not Eat; spotted bass >16 inches, two 8-oz. meals/ month. DSHS recommends children under 12 and women who are nursing, pregnant or who may become pregnant avoid eating the affected species because the nervous systems of unborn and young children are particularly susceptible to the health effects of toxins. Previous advisories for the Neches River area based on high mercury levels had recommended children limit consumption of particular fish. Recent testing prompted DSHS to recommend children under 12 not eat the affected fish at all. Elevated levels of mercury and dioxins in fish do not pose a health risk for people swimming or participating in other water recreation activities.


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