Health officials are warning residents they should limit their intake of fish from local lakes and streams because of concern about elevated levels of mercury.
The state Bureau of Environmental Health notified Hamilton Health Agent Leslie Whelan earlier this month that large mouth bass from are contaminated with mercury. Children under 12, pregnant women and nursing mothers should not eat any large-mouth bass from the pond. Healthy adults should limit their intake to two fish per month.
Pleasant Pond sits in both Hamilton and Wenham and the Wenham Board of Health Chairman Gerry Donnellan was also notified.
Chebacco Lake and Ipswich River are also under fish consumption advisories. The advisory for the Chebacco Lake is for large-mouth bass while for the Ipswich River is extends to all fish species, with the same limits in place. The state Bureau of Environmental Health has more than 200 lakes, rivers and ponds on a freshwater fish consumption advisory list, issued on Oct. 11.
The state Department of Public Health, state Department of Environmental Protection and the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife conduct surveys that analyze the concentration of contaminants from fish samples taken from freshwater bodies across the state.
“Data generated from the monitoring activities are evaluated and if significant levels of a contaminant are detected a Public Health Fish Consumption Advisory is issued,” according to the letter from Martha Steele, acting director of the Environmental Toxicology Program for the state Bureau of Environmental Health.