A critical analysis of Illinois' fish mercury monitoring program, 1974-1998
Abbreviated Journal Title
Environ. Monit. Assess.
methylmercury; exposure risk; lake; watershed; largemouth bass; retrospective analysis; CHILDBEARING AGE; LAKE-MICHIGAN; CONSUMPTION; WOMEN; EXPOSURE; DISEASE; HEALTH; RISK; Environmental Sciences
Mercury contamination in fish is a serious public health concern that contrasts with other health benefits of eating fish. Like most US states, Illinois has monitored fish mercury contamination for decades to warn the public of mercury exposure risks by consuming fish. Has this monitoring program been effective in detecting public mercury exposure risks? I analyzed fish mercury contamination data from Illinois inland lakes (1974-1998; > 2,300 samples, 18 fish species, 149 lakes) and found that: (a) sampling and analyses have been severely limited since 1985; (b) sampling effort varied widely among lakes and species, and (c) trends and spatial patterns were confused by this variability. As a result of a severely limited and nonstrategic monitoring program, public mercury exposure risks via Illinois fish consumption remain unclear, despite much effort over many years. Illinois monitors fewer fish per angler than many US states, but is not alone in this regard. Illinois should resurrect and redesign its fish contaminant monitoring program to one that strategically and systematically assesses human mercury exposure risk. Other US states and nations may also benefit from similar retrospective examinations of monitoring programs intended to protect public health.
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
"A critical analysis of Illinois' fish mercury monitoring program, 1974-1998" (2007). Faculty Bibliography 2000s. 7264.