Mercury in Fish

Fish is an important part of a healthy diet. Fish contain high-quality protein and other essential nutrients, is low in saturated fat, and contain omega-3 fatty acids. A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fish can contribute to heart health and children's proper growth and development.

Some fish caught in South Carolina may not be safe to eat because they contain harmful levels of some chemicals, including mercury.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) tests fish from lakes, rivers, streams and offshore waters all over South Carolina. All of the samples are tested for certain chemicals to determine if the fish are contaminated. DHEC analyzes the data and then issues fish consumption advisories when contaminated fish are above risk recommendations. Based on this data, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and radioisotopes are the contaminants for which advisories have been issued.

A fish consumption advisory is a warning targeted to either the general population or specific at-risk groups such as babies, children under 14, women who are nursing, women who are pregnant and women who plan to become pregnant. Advisories tell you where you should limit the amount of fish you eat and where it is safe to eat as much fish as you like.

Learn more about DHEC's Fish Consumption Advisory Program .