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Minn. wins grant to reduce fish mercury exposure

Lake trout
Lake trout

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota has won a federal grant to reduce mercury exposure for women and children living along Lake Superior's north shore.

The U.S. Environmental Protect Agency has awarded the Minnesota Department of Health a $1.4 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant.

The Grand Portage Chippewa Tribe and the Sawtooth Mountain Clinics in Grand Portage and Grand Marais will participate in the project.

Excessive blood mercury levels have been documented in infants in the Lake Superior area. The money will be used to improve health screening and develop more effective fish consumption advisories.

EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman says mercury contamination leaves many Great Lakes fish unsafe to eat. Hedman says the project will help women make choices to minimize their exposure to mercury but maximize the health benefits of eating fish.

Two public meetings sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Health are scheduled for women of childbearing age who eat locally caught fish. On Monday, Oct. 8, a “guided discussion” will be held in Grand Portage at the log community building beginning at 5 p.m. The following evening, Tuesday, Oct. 9, a similar discussion will be held in Grand Marais at the First Congregational Church, also beginning at 5 p.m.