The North Carolina Division of Public Health is alerting residents to use caution when eating fish from Lake Nantahala in Macon County. Health officials warn residents to avoid eating smallmouth bass, walleye, yellow perch and largemouth bass
caught in the lake due to elevated levels of mercury.
State health officials advise all pregnant, nursing, or women between 15-44 years of age not eat any smallmouth bass, walleye, yellow perch or largemouth bass caught in Lake Nantahala. Children under age 15 should also not consume any of the aforementioned fish either.
Men 15 years or older and women greater than 44 years of age should limit their consumption to one meal per week from those fish caught in Lake Nantahala. A meal is considered approximately six ounces of uncooked fish.
Mercury may adversely affect nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, especially in unborn babies and young children
Adverse health effects also can occur in adults at much higher doses.
State health officials believe the source of the mercury contamination is likely from airborne deposits such as wind blown dust.