Health and Safety

Mercury In Fish Products

SECTION 23-72-1

§ 23-72-1. Legislative findings.

The general assembly finds and declares:

(1) Mercury from trash incinerators, coal fired power plants, municipal solid waste, hazardous waste sites, and other human made sources has been identified in virtually every body of water in New England, as well as the oceans.

(2) Nearly all fish contain at least trace amounts of methyl mercury, which is formed by the action of bacteria on elemental mercury.

(3) Many types of freshwater fish caught in Rhode Island and some saltwater fish sold in Rhode Island may be contaminated with mercury, a toxic element that causes neurological damage.

(4) According to the US Food and Drug Administration, certain species of tuna, shark and swordfish can have mercury levels over 1.0 parts per million, the FDA limit for human consumption.

(5) The FDA advises pregnant women of childbearing age to limit their consumption of shark and swordfish to no more than once a month. Other persons are advised to limit their consumption of shark and swordfish to no more than seven (7) ounces per week.

(6) However, this health advisory information, which is necessary to protect public health, is not widely known nor widely disseminated by the state or federal government, potentially threatening many Rhode Island residents who may unknowingly ingest harmful amounts of mercury from fish.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2001, ch. 252, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 375, § 1.)