Dept. of Environmental Quality: High Levels of Mercury Found in Some Oklahoma Lakes
By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality has issued a report sighting high levels of mercury in some Oklahoma lakes.
The three year study of 50 lakes found 16 lakes have high levels of mercury. The mercury was found in largemouth bass. The study was released in a news conference Wednesday morning.
Mercury is a neurotoxin and in low doses can be affect cognitive thinking, memory, fine motor skills and visual spatial skills. The population most at risk is children up to age 15, pregnant women and women of childbearing age. This population should limit their fish intake to 8 ounces once a week.
If you caught fish over the weekend, DEQ said you don't have to throw them out, but depending on where you caught them, you need to think twice about how much you eat.
"We eat some of them, we release some and we have friends that also take some," said Stephanie Greholber, whose family spent the weekend fishing at Lake Stanley Draper.
But the fish at this lake may not be so good for them. The Oklahoma DEQ found Lake Stanley Draper contained some of the highest levels of mercury.
"The affects that were seen were subtle, low levels…not profound impairments. We just want people to be aware of this issue," said Jay Wright with DEQ.
A local environmental group is worried the state isn't doing enough to protect citizens.
"Currently Oklahoma does not have mercury regulations in place. They largely rely on federal standards," said Bud Scott, Oklahoma Chapter of Sierra Club.
Mercury or not, the new information won't keep this family from the lake.
"We'll continue to fish the same as we have...we'll just keep a watch on it," said Greholbers.
Later this month the DEQ will hold a series of public meetings on this subject.