State Warns Against Eating Bottom-Feeder Fish
The Michigan Department of Community Health advises against eating carp or catfish caught from Lake St. Clair.
State officials speaking before St. Clair Shores City Council Monday recommended anglers to avoid eating catfish and carp from Lake St. Clair after highly elevated levels of PCBs were found in fish samples from the Lange-Revere canals.
The presentation before City Council came a little more than a week after the Michigan Department of Community Health recently issued a “do not eat” advisory for fish caught in the Lange-Revere canals for elevated levels of PCBs.
“It is a precautionary measure because the numbers are so unusually high,” said Kory Groetsch, MDCH fish advisory toxicologist
The concentrations of PCBs in carp caught in the canal were 88 parts per million, when in other parts of the lake concentrations were 0.7 parts per million. In largemouth bass caught in the same area, there were levels of 3.9 parts per million in canal fish and .04 parts per million of PCB in the rest of the lake.
“Those are very unusual,” Groetsch said. “We have not seen numbers that high.”
State officials are still awaiting the results from tests of black crappie, another bottom-feeding fish, but they are expected to be “elevated” according to Groetsch.
To address concerns about the fish contamination, and the EPA investigation of the PCB contamination of the Lange-Revere canals, the city, county, state and federal officials will hold a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, in City Hall.
Additionally, the state officials stated that in the coming weeks more fish will be caught in the areas north and south of the canals to gain a better understanding of the extent of the contamination.
Last year was the first year that the Lange-Revere canals were included in the nearly 600 fish caught statewide as part of the testing program. Because of budget constraints and laboratory testing procedures, there is nearly a six- to eight-month lag time between the fish being caught and the release of the findings.
The release of the findings of canal fish was delayed further due to the oil spill in the Kalamazoo River, officials said.
“This is very difficult for our residents to come back with this message,” said Mayor Robert Hison, regarding the delay in release of the findings.
Council members also voiced their displeasure with the delay.
“The lake is our crown jewel,” said Ron Frederick. “This does not help this town at all.”
Groetsch said possible effects of eating PCB-contaminated fish could increase risk of cancer and suppressed immunization system.
The chemicals were first discovered in 2001 in the Lange and Revere canals prior to a dredging project. The EPA worked with the city, county and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to determine the contamination came from the 10 Mile storm sewer.
The EPA removed sediment from the storm drains and canals, removed PCB-contaminated soil and lined the storm sewer drain to prevent future seepage of the chemicals into the drain.
According to the EPA, PCBs were manufactured from 1929 until the chemicals were banned in 1979 and have been shown to cause cancer in animals.
The drain was named a Superfund National Priorities Site in 2010.