The Alaska Division of Public Health is seeking hair samples from women aged 15 to 45 and pregnant women especially to test for mercury exposure. Frank Okyere oversees the statewide mercury testing program. He says that exposure to mercury most often happens through the consumption of fish. While mercury is less of a concern when eating Alaskan fish, Okyere says it’s still important to be cautious.
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s Fish Monitoring Program shows that Alaska has very clean fish, however recent data shows that some species have mercury levels that are high enough to cause concern if eaten in large quantities by young children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Okyere says it’s important to know if Alaskans are being exposed to mercury.
The test can be requested by contacting Okyere at the Alaska Division of Public Health: 907-269-6560.