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Mercury Reported in Fish from San Francisco’s Crystal Springs Reservoir


LA Testing provides testing services to prevent mercury from the environment and food products from impacting people and animals.

Garden Grove, CA

Last month the San Francisco Chronicle reported that researchers found some of California’s highest levels of mercury in fish from the Crystal Springs Reservoir. Largemouth bass were tested for the heavy metal in the reservoir that supplies drinking water to the San Francisco area.

The study was conducted by researchers from the San Francisco Estuary Institute and has prompted the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to try and determine the source of the mercury. The watershed for the reservoir does not have a history of mining for mercury, but the natural sediment in some areas may have naturally occurring mercury present. Another possible explanation for the contamination is air pollution from China’s industry and power plants may be depositing mercury in the watershed.

Of the 300 popular fishing lakes tested across the state 21% had at least one type of fish with mercury levels above .44 parts per million. Exposure to mercury usually occurs through inhalation or ingesting contaminated food products. Predatory fish can accumulate mercury in their bodies before being consumed by people or other animals.

LA Testing, an affiliate of EMSL Analytical, is a leading provider of mercury and other heavy metal testing services. “Exposure to mercury can cause an increased heart rate and blood pressure as well as chest pain and tightness of breath,” reported Ben Sublasky, National Director of Client Services for LA Testing and EMSL Analytical. “Long term exposure can cause kidney and brain damage.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a limit of 2 parts of mercury per billion parts of drinking water (2 ppb). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set a maximum permissible level of 1 part of methyl mercury in a million parts of seafood (1 ppm). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set limits of 0.1 milligram of organic mercury per cubic meter of workplace air (0.1 mg/m3) and 0.05 mg/m3 of metallic mercury vapor for 8-hour shifts and 40-hour work weeks.

To learn more about mercury or other heavy metal testing services please visit, email or call (800) 755-1794.

About LA Testing and EMSL Analytical, Inc.
LA Testing and EMSL Analytical are providers of environmental testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The companies have an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.


 mercury fish California
 San Francisco food
 crystal springs reservoir
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