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Environ Res. 2007 Jul;104(3):410-9. Epub 2007 Apr 24.

Fish consumption and advisory awareness among low-income women in California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

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Impact Assessment Inc., California Department of Health Services, Environmental Health Investigations Branch, Richmond, CA 94804-6403, USA.


Fishing is a culturally important activity to the ethnically diverse population living in California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Due to runoff from abandoned gold mines, certain Delta fish are contaminated with methylmercury, a neurodevelopmental toxin. A state health advisory recommends limited consumption of certain Delta fish, to be followed in conjunction with a federal advisory for commercial and sport fish. We conducted a survey of low-income women at a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clinic, to characterize commercial and sport fish consumption patterns and advisory awareness. Ninety-five percent of women consumed commercial fish. Thirty-two percent consumed sport fish; this proportion was much higher in Hmong (86%) and Cambodian (75%) women. Ninety-nine percent of sport fish consumers also consumed commercial fish. The overall fish consumption rate among consumers was 27.9 g/day (geometric mean, past 30 days, cooked portion); commercial and sport fish consumption rates were 26.3 and 10.5 g/day, respectively. We found ethnic differences in overall fish consumption rates, which were highest in African Americans (41.2 g/day) and Asians (35.6 g/day), particularly Vietnamese and Cambodians. Pregnant women ate less fish overall than other women (16.8 vs. 30.0 g/day, p=0.0001), as did women who demonstrated specific advisory awareness (23.3 vs. 30.3 g/day, p=0.02). Twenty-nine percent of all women exceeded federal fish consumption advisory limits. These results highlight the need for culturally and linguistically appropriate interventions that address both commercial and sport fish consumption.

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