Information About Eating Fish From Lexington Reservoir

Why did OEHHA develop the advisory for eating fish from Lexington Reservoir?

OEHHA’s advisory for Lexington Reservoir is based on findings of mercury in fish.  The lake is located in Santa Clara County, between Los Gatos and Santa Cruz.  This advisory is part of an ongoing effort by OEHHA to provide safe-eating advice for fish in different California water bodies. OEHHA used information from two studies to develop the guidelines for eating fish from Lexington Reservoir.

Why should I eat fish?

  • Fish are an important part of a healthy, well-balanced diet.  The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish each week.
  • Fish provide a good source of protein, vitamins, and are a primary dietary source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.  Eating low-contaminant fish while pregnant may help the baby’s brain develop.

Which chemicals are of concern for people eating fish from Lexington Reservoir?

  • Mercury
    • Mercury is a metal that comes from natural sources, mining, and air fallout from burning coal and other fuels.
    • Too much methylmercury, the form of mercury in fish, can harm the brain, especially in babies and children.  Mothers can pass methylmercury to their babies during pregnancy. 

How did OEHHA determine the guidelines for fish from Lexington Reservoir?

  • OEHHA compared chemical levels in fish from Lexington Reservoir to acceptable levels of human exposure.
  • OEHHA’s consumption guidelines balance the risks and benefits of fish consumption. 

How much mercury was found in fish from Lexington Reservoir?

  • Black bass species (e.g., largemouth bass) had high levels of mercury. 
  • Sunfish species, (e.g., Bluegill, Pumpkinseed) had medium levels of mercury.
  • Inland Silverside, Rainbow Trout and Threadfin Shad had low levels of mercury. 

What does OEHHA recommend for people who want to eat fish from Lexington Reservoir?

  • Women 18-45 years and children 1-17 years
    • Should not eat black bass species
    • Can eat:
      • 1 serving per week of sunfish species, such as Bluegill, or
      • 2 servings per week of Inland Silverside or Threadfin Shad, or
      • 7 servings per week of Rainbow Trout
  • Women over 45 years and men age 18 years and older
    • Can eat:
      • 1 serving per week of black bass species, or
      • 3 servings per week of sunfish species, or
      • 7 servings per week of Inland Silverside, Rainbow Trout or Threadfin Shad

What else can I do to protect my health and my family’s?

  • Eat a variety of fish.
  • Eat smaller (younger) fish of legal size.
  • Eat only the skinless fillet or meat portion of fish and shellfish you catch.
  • Thoroughly cook the fish, allow the juice to drain away.
  • Learn about OEHHA’s guidelines for eating sport fish in California:
    • Visit www.oehha.ca.gov (click on “FISH”, then “Fish Advisories”), or call OEHHA at (916) 323-7319 or (510) 622-3170
    • Check the Freshwater or Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklets from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, or visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regulations