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#424712 - 12/09/11 02:40 PM Macal Mercury Levels Down; Fish Still Not Safe
Marty Offline
Mercury Levels in the Macal River are down - but it's still not safe to eat the bay snook.
The latest result from samples of bay snook taken from the Macal River on the 23rd, 24th and 25th August 2011, indicated that the new levels of mercury found in the Bay Snook is 1.35 milligram per kilogram. That is down a quarter of a milligram from the last test in April of 2011, but it's still not safe for human consumption.

The Department of Environment reports that the mercury concentration is a still almost three times the recommended dose. The overall findings from the fish sampling indicated that of the fifteen types of fish analyzed ten or 66.7% showed decreases while three had increases.

The long term effects of mercury consumption include: mental retardation in children, poor development of infants, vision impairment, nervousness, and weakening of muscles in the hand and feet.

Cayo residents are advised to eating fish from other parts of the country. Where does the mercury come from?

Most likely, The BECOL dams upriver in the Cayo district. Dams create mercury contamination. Inorganic mercury is present in our soils. Stored in the soil, this type of mercury is relatively safe. But when areas are flooded and bacteria begin to digest the flooded soils, inorganic mercury changes to methylmercury which is a potent neurotoxin.

LOVEFM

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#424722 - 12/09/11 03:04 PM Re: Macal Mercury Levels Down; Fish Still Not Safe [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

MOH tightens Bay Snook fish advisory

Belizeans are once again being advised not to eat the Bay snook from the Macal River. The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Department of Environment and the Belize Electric Company (BECOL), has concluded another testing of mercury in fish from the Macal River. The latest result from samples of fish taken from the Macal River on the 23rd, 24th and 25th August 2011, indicated that the new levels of mercury found in the Bay Snook has decreased a bit, the public is still asked to not to eat the fish since the mercury concentration is a little under three times the recommended dose. The public is advised to observe the recommendation to avoid long term effects such as: mental retardation in children, poor development of infants, vision impairment, nervousness, and weakening of muscles in the hand and feet. This advisory about bay snook is ONLY for those caught from the Macal river.

PlusTV


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#424794 - 12/10/11 03:01 AM Re: Macal Mercury Levels Down; Fish Still Not Safe [Re: Marty]
papashine Offline
Are there any gold mining operations within the Macal river watershed?
_________________________
Reality..What a concept!

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#424803 - 12/10/11 07:34 AM Re: Macal Mercury Levels Down; Fish Still Not Safe [Re: papashine]
papashine Offline
The reason I am asking this question is because mercury is used to recover the very fine gold dust such might be in a gold pan or a larger sluiceing system, it wouldn't take a huge operation to get the mercury levels out of control. Iknow that there is gold mining currently in progress in Belize, I'm just not clear on where.
_________________________
Reality..What a concept!

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#424806 - 12/10/11 01:22 PM Re: Macal Mercury Levels Down; Fish Still Not Safe [Re: Marty]
SimonB Offline
Everytime a large dam is built that floods a large area of vegetation large amounts of mercury are released into the system. Google "mercury from dams" and you'll find plenty of information.

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#424859 - 12/10/11 05:50 PM Re: Macal Mercury Levels Down; Fish Still Not Safe [Re: SimonB]
papashine Offline
Thx, interesting info.
_________________________
Reality..What a concept!

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#441267 - 06/23/12 01:58 PM Re: Macal Mercury Levels Down; Fish Still Not Safe [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Mercury in Fish from the Macal River

The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Department of Environment and the Belize Electric Company (BECOL), has concluded another mercury test on the fish taken from the Macal River in May 2012. The following Public Advisory is being issued to guide the general public on the amount of fish that can be eaten weekly from the Macal River to avoid ill effects due to mercury exposure.

Fish samples collected from the Macal River produced 15 types of fish. After testing, 5 or 33% had elevated mercury level above 0.5 mg/kg the same as results of the last testing in December, 2012. Of those five fish, the species of interest include those with elevated mercury levels and those frequently eaten by communities in the area. These are the Petenia splendida or Bay snook, Ictalurus furcatus or Baca and Rhamdia laticauda better known as botasi or lup.

In the case of Petenia splendia or Bay Snook, the new results indicate that there has been a significant decrease in the mercury level by 0.6 mg/kg or result being just 0.1 mg/kg above the tolerance level. The amount of Bay snook that can now be eaten weekly is 1.44 ounces for persons of 175 lbs. Note that the mercury level for the bay snook although it has decreased remains above the acceptable limits and as such the public is asked to observe the recommendation.

In the case of Baca and Botasi or lup, both contain mercury levels above the tolerance level with concentrations of 0.73 and 1.11 mg/kg respectively. The public is advised not to eat more that 3 ounces of Baca weekly. Since the level of Botasi or Lup is more than two and a quarter times the recommended tolerance level, the public is advised not to eat until further notice.

With excess mercury concentration in the three fish, the Ministry warns the public to observe the recommended eating amounts to avoid long term effects such as: mental retardation in children, poor development of infants, vision impairment, nervousness, weakening of muscles in the hands and feet. Similarly it recommends the following to prevent mercury intoxication and replacement of omega fatty acid that can be lost from the diet:

  1. Eat fish from other locations in the country.
  2. Eat replacement foods such as: canned light tuna, local chicken, seeds such as flaxseed, pumpkin seeds (Pepitos), sesame (Wangla seed), sunflower, cashew nuts, avocados, spinach, and oils from flaxseed, canola, corn, olive or soybean.
  3. Take Omega Acid Supplements.

Note that the above mentioned amounts to be eaten are for an average person weighing 175 lbs and not for person with body weight greater or less. Fish consumption quantities for those other persons can be found using the Weekly Consumption Value per Body Weight Chart which can be obtained from the Ministry of Health.

The general public is warned that the advisory on the amount of fish to be eaten only applies to Bay- snook, Baca and Botasi or Lup caught and eaten from the Macal River. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health would like to assure the public that it remains watchful on this issue and will continue to track its progress and make the necessary advisory as required. Letís remain safe and healthy and follow the recommended weekly consumption quantities of fish from the Macal River.


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