California Department of Public Health logo: three likenesses of people colored blue, green, and orange  
Last Edited: 8/5/2010

San Francisco Bay Fish Outreach and Education Project
01/1997 - 05/2005

In 1997, EHIB created the San Francisco Bay Fish Consumption Outreach and Education Project.  The project was developed to address community concerns about eating fish fron San Francisco (SF) Bay.  Fish from the SF Bay have higher levels of mercury and PCBs than commercial fish.  Exposure to these chemicals can increase the risk of cancer and other health problems.  In addition, mercury can harm developing fetuses and infants.  Children born to mothers who have a lot of mercury in their bodies may develop more slowly and have problems learning.  

In 1994, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment issued an advisory limiting the consumption of bay fish.  It recommends that:

  • Women between the years of 18-45, especially pregnant and nursing women, and children under the age of 18 should eat no more than one meal a month of fish from the SF Bay.  In addition, they shouldn't eat any shark from the bay, or striped bass over 27 inches in length.
  • Other adults should eat no more than two meals a month of fish from the SF Bay.  They should not eat striped bass over 35 inches in length.
  • Everyone can lower their exposures to chemicals in fish by eating only the fillet (the light meat); throwing away the guts, skin, eggs, and fish fat; and by cooking fish in ways that allow the fatty juices to drip away.

Under the guidance of a San Francisco Bay Task Force, EHIB has developed educational materials, coordinated outreach efforts, and provided assistance to other agencies involved in fish issues.  In 2000, EHIB provided four small grants to local community health organizations to develop educational materials, conduct surveys, and develop educational activities for use within their ongoing programs. EHIB has also developed and distributed SF Bay warning signs to be posted at fishing locations around the bay. 

Available educational materials for the San Francisco Bay include:

     San Francisco Bay Fish Postcard



Related Topics