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Oklahoma Department of Environmental says mercury is rising

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Is it getting hot in here, or is it just us?

According to a recent report by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, mercury levels have risen is freshwater fish in the state. In fact, said the report, some of the highest levels in the nation are found in the fish that call southeastern Oklahoma lakes home. Yummy!

The study said that Hugo, Broken Bow, Wister, Pine Creek and McGee were lakes where the mercury exceeded 0.5 mg, which is apparently a bad number. The study sampled the mercury levels in striped bass, black bass, walleye, white bass, saugeye and flathead catfish. Oddly, purple polka-dotted bass were not tested.

The Tulsa World reported on the study and gave us at Chicken-Fried News a little primer in mercury. It's a neurotoxin that can effect the brain, kidneys, spinal cord, liver and lungs of folks who ingest too much of it. It can also work as a passable excuse to bail on the Broadway revival of David Mamet's "Speed-the-Plow" if your name is Jeremy Piven.

According to the World, 25 percent of mercury in fish comes from natural resources like volcanoes, which Oklahoma has an abundance of, but 75 percent comes from manmade sources.

Jay Wright, of DEQ's customer services division, said that while the report is sobering, it shouldn't stop folks from eating fish.

"There are low-mercury fish out there," he said. "If we quit eating fish what will we replace it with, hot dogs?"

We were thinking arsenic pops, but hot dogs do sound pretty good.

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