Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment


Advice for Women of Childbearing Years and Children

Young children and fetuses are more sensitive to the toxic effects of methylmercury, the form of mercury of health concern in fish. For this reason, OEHHA's advisories that are based on mercury provide special advice for women of childbearing years and children. This group of people should be especially careful to follow the advice. Follow this link to learn more about Methylmercury in Sport Fish.

OEHHA also offers the following general advice that can be followed to reduce exposure to methylmercury in fish.

Fishing Practices:

  • Chemical levels can vary from place to place. Your overall exposure to chemicals is likely to be lower if you fish at a variety of places, rather than at one location that might have high contamination levels.

Fish Species:

  • Some fish species have higher chemical levels than others in the same location. If possible, eat smaller amounts of several different types of fish rather than a large amount of one type that may be high in contaminants.

Fish Size:

  • Smaller fish of a species will usually have lower chemical levels than larger fish in the same location because some of the chemicals may become more concentrated in larger, older fish. It is advisable to eat smaller fish (of legal size) more often than larger fish.

Fish Preparation and Consumption:

  • Eat only the fillet portions. Do not eat the guts and liver because chemicals usually concentrate in those parts.

General Health Advice for People Catching and Eating Sport Fish in California

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