Mercury in the environment has been a major item on the environmental front for the past 30-plus years. During that period, there has been substantial research concerning mercury's health effect and how it moves into and through the food chain. Over the last several years, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration have issued fish advisories concerning, among other things, mercury levels in recreationally-caught fish. At the present time 41 states have issued fish advisories.
During 2001, the issue of seafood with high levels of methylmercury was raised in a series of articles appearing in the Mobile Register. Most stakeholder groups have expressed a desire to participate in addressing the methylmercury issue in coastal Alabama and the northern Gulf of Mexico. This science-based program will serve as a forum for scientists, educators, consumer groups, environmentalists, industry, and policy makers to learn more about methylmercury in the environment. The meeting will also serve as a first step toward developing a comprehensive plan for addressing the issue that involves all stakeholder groups.