State Issues Advisory on Methylmercury-contaminated Fish in Silverwood Lake in San Bernardino County

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has issued specific guidelines for Silverwood Lake in San Bernardino County due to elevated methylmercury and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) levels in fish. Methylmercury can harm the brain and nervous system of people, especially unborn babies and children. PCBs affect many body functions, and have been found to cause cancer in animal studies.

The guidelines recommend that all fishers avoid eating any striped bass, blackfish, or tui chub from Silverwood Lake. Women aged 18-45 and children under 18 should also avoid eating any largemouth bass, bluegill or channel catfish from Silverwood Lake.  Men over 18 and women older than 45 can eat one serving per week of largemouth bass, bluegill, or channel catfish. Rainbow trout from Silverwood Lake have much lower levels of contaminants and can be safely eaten up to seven times per week by all groups. Tule perch consumption should be limited to one serving per week by all groups.

Last week, the OEHHA issued new general guidelines regarding wild-caught fish in lakes throughout California. Several lakes in San Bernardino County were listed in this general advisory, which covers fish from lakes and reservoirs that do not have their own specific advisories. People who visit lakes within San Bernardino County (other than Silverwood Lake which has a specific advisory) should follow the general guidelines issued by the OEHHA. The OEHHA recommends that women aged 18-45 and children under 18 should choose wild-caught rainbow trout and smaller brown trout over bass, carp, and larger brown trout. Rainbow trout and smaller brown trout have lower methylmercury levels compared to other fish.

The health advisory and guidelines are available on the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment website atwww.oehha.ca.gov.

For more information, contact the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment at (916) 324-0955 or (909) 764-0955.

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