Almost all of the men 50 and older who responded to a survey about fish consumption knew about mercury-based advisories while 67 percent were aware of advisories related to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in fish, according to a report in the current issue of WMJ (vol. 112, no. 3). The study by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) also found that more than half of the respondents made at least one behavioral change because of concerns with contamination.
As part of a grant funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, DHS surveyed men 50 and older who fished in Wisconsin waters and lived in Wisconsin at least part of the year. That demographic was targeted because previous DHS research found that older, male anglers eat more sport fish and have higher body burdens of persistent contaminants found in fish than other groups.
Results from the survey, which was completed by 827 fishermen between October 2011 and May 2012, were used to evaluate existing advisory approaches, identify gaps and offer suggestions for adapting communication approaches. Because only 4 percent of respondents identified health care professionals as a source of advisory information, the authors suggest that DHS may need to encourage physicians and other medical personnel to discuss with patients the health benefits of eating fish that are low in mercury and other contaminants.
Additional information is available in this news release. Published by the Wisconsin Medical Society, WMJ is a peer-reviewed publication devoted to the interests of the medical profession and health care in the Midwest.
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