A frequent fisherman on Boston-area ponds, Alex P. (who declined to give his full name) caught an 8-inch bass in Boston’s Jamaica Pond recently and planned to eat it. He said he hadn't heard of the state’s blanket advisory that mercury in freshwater fish in Massachusetts, generally, is not safe for women of childbearing age and children under 12 to eat.

Mercury emissions down but mercury in Mass. fish remains high

Mercury emissions from major Massachusetts sources have declined by 90 percent over the past two decades, but mercury levels in the state’s freshwater fish hold stubbornly high, with many species too contaminated for pregnant women and children to eat. Meanwhile, languid summer days and the lure of Massachusetts’ 3,000 freshwater bodies – from the Berkshire's Lake Pontoosuc to Boston's Jamaica Pond – send many anglers casting for a good fish dinner.

A Medway youth soccer player's sock collects particles of crumb rubber from the Medway High School synthetic turf field. The ant-size pellets act as artificial dirt for the artificial grass and they become ubiquitous in the lives of families whose kids play on artificial fields – getting into athletic bags, inside shoes, and ultimately in every mom's laundry room.

Toxic turf? Momentum grows against synthetic turf

Increasingly, Bay State towns – like many places nationwide – are debating costly plans to build new, or refurbish old, artificial turf fields, and sports enthusiasts who love the vivid-green fields for their durability and easy maintenance are bracing for new opposition from parents of budding soccer, lacrosse and football players about the safety of crumb rubber pellets.

Neal Heffron with his daughter and Lyme-stricken dog, Dani.

Lyme-infected dogs: 95 percent never develop symptoms; no such luck for Dani

That dogs are enormously susceptible to the ravages of ticks is no surprise, but there is uncertainty over just how many dogs that are bitten by ticks end up as sick as Dani, and why. Canine veterinarians and researchers who study Lyme disease in animals often cite the statistic that 95 percent of dogs exposed to Lyme never show symptoms, even though a screening test may turn up positive.

Thomas Mather, of the University of Rhode Island TickEncounter Resource Center, holds ticks gathered in the woods in South Kingstown, RI in November 2012. The ticks are adult stage blacklegged (deer) ticks.

Despite spread of Lyme disease, Mass. dedicates no money to prevention

Ticks and Lyme have spread across Massachusetts in the past 40 years to become one of the region’s most commonly reported infectious diseases, yet the state’s public health priorities have not kept pace. Two years ago, a special state Lyme commission suggested a modest investment of less than $300,000 for a public education program, yet no money has been set aside, and the commission’s other specific recommendations – from promoting more awareness in the medical community to better disease surveillance – have not been adopted.