Olympic National Park to warn anglers of mercury levels in fish

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — Park officials will find a way to notify anglers that elevated mercury levels were found in some fish from the isolated PJ and Hoh lakes, said a park spokeswoman.

Mercury concentrations in some fish in the Olympic National Park lakes were among the highest measured in a six-year study of 20 national parks and monuments released by the National Park Service last week.

The amount exceeded the 185 parts per billion standard that triggers warnings for people.

The scientific director of the multi-agency study said there’s no danger to those who enjoy the park.

“I think everybody must make up their own mind, but generally speaking there’s no threat to being in the park,” said Dixon Landers of Corvallis, Ore., a senior research environmental scientist for the Environmental Protection Agency.

“People should always listen to state health advisories.”

Park officials are developing language to include in its fishing fliers and Web site to let people know about the assessment results, said park spokeswoman Barb Maynes.

“It wasn’t that all fish were found to be higher, but that some fish in the two lakes exceeded the maximum acceptable mercury levels.”

The levels of mercury were “enough that it is important to let people know,” she said.

Mercury concentrations also were well into the danger zone for wildlife that eat fish, including kingfisher birds, otters and mink.

The two lakes were the only ones in the park that were studied.

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