Possible Danger In Lake Cumberland Fish

It covers 1,200 miles of shoreline and it's fished in by people all over the country. But there could be a danger in Lake Cumberland.

“The most dangers are associated with a child's exposure to mercury or women of child bearing age,” says Jasie Logsdon of the Lake Cumberland District Health Department.

Elevated mercury levels in fish tissue could pose problems for those who eat a lot of Black or Rock Bass or Crappie. Those fish species are found in Lake Cumberland.

“In adults, you'll see nervous system affects. Maybe memory loss, blurry vision, loss of hearing, things like that,” said Logsdon.

The mercury in Lake Cumberland may very well come from coal burning power plants, but state officials don't necessarily think that local power plants are responsible for the contamination.

Instead, officials blame power plants west of Kentucky, and prevailing winds that eventually drop mercury contaminated rain in Kentucky. But despite the warning, health officials say don't stop eating fish entirely.

“It's nutritious. It's low fat. However you have to think about eating it in moderation,” said Logsdon.

Children and women of child bearing age should only eat Lake Cumberland black bass 6 times a year. Crappie or rock bass should be limited to one meal a month. Others should limit their consumption of black bass to one meal a month or one meal a week for crappie or rock bass.

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