Higher Mercury Levels in Women Living in Hawaii

(KHNL) A new report finds women living in Hawaii have higher than recommended levels of mercury in their bodies.

A national study, conducted by Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, found one in five women of childbearing age in Hawaii had mercury levels higher than recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The average level of mercury for the 46 local participants was 2.07 parts per million. The national average was 0.79.

"The Sierra Club is concerned because we really don't know the ultimate source of the mercury but we do know that local sources from refinery and power plants have quadrupled since 2000," said Jeff Mikulina, director of the Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter.

Experts say the reason for those high levels is, Island women eat a lot of fish.

Dr. Linda Rosen with the Health Department says she's not surprised by this study and the high levels of mercury that were found, still wouldn't produce any health risks in an average adult.

"Well it's very established that almost all mercury in people's blood comes from fish eating. The other sources are fairly small," said Dr. Linda Rosen, deputy health director, Health Resources.

Dr. Rosen says fish is good for the body. It's high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and low in fat.

Only pregnant women, nursing mothers and kids need to limit the amount of fish they eat.