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Fish consumption advisory guidelines updated

Several new changes to 2016 guidelines for fish caught in various Kentucky waters.
Click on headline for charts with advisories, including warnings on certain fish from Green River Lake, lakewide, for PCB/mercury levels

From Commonwealth News Center

FRANKFORT, KY - (17 Feb 2016) - The statewide fish consumption advisory has been revised due to levels of mercury found in fish samples from Kentucky waters, the Kentucky Departments for Public Health, Environmental Protection, and Fish and Wildlife Resources announced today.

Fish consumption advisories are intended to advise the public of potential adverse health problems that may result from eating fish caught from a particular area. An advisory does not ban eating fish; it is a guide to help citizens reduce risk and make informed decisions about eating fish from Kentucky waters.

"We want Kentuckians to be informed about any potential danger or ill effects that could result from the food they consume - and that includes fish caught locally in our rivers, streams and lakes," said Kathy Fowler, director of the DPH Division of Public Health Safety. "Contaminants, like mercury, can be harmful to the brain and nervous system if a person is exposed to too much of them. We ask that Kentuckians be mindful of the kinds and amounts of fish they consume, particularly more sensitive populations such as infants, young children and pregnant women."

Mercury occurs naturally and can also be released to the environment through many types of human activity. It can collect in streams and lakes where it is converted into methylmercury in the sediment. Once converted, methylmercury is absorbed by small organisms such as bacteria and plankton, which are then consumed by larger organisms progressing up the food chain to predatory fish such as largemouth bass, walleye and musky.

According to 2009 United States Environmental Protection Agency document "The National Study of Chemical Residues in Lake Fish Tissue", mercury has been found in fish in all states including Kentucky. Kentucky's average mercury concentration in fish tissue is similar to national levels.

Kentucky consumption advisories are developed based on the USEPA document "Guidance for Assessing Chemical Contaminant Data for Use in Fish Tissue Advisories" which outlines risk based consumption limits for methylmercury. Consumption advisories do not affect those who swim, ski or boat in Kentucky waters.

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Current KY standing individual fish consumption advisories


New fish from KY waters consumption advisory: 2016

This story was posted on 2016-02-17 15:08:11
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Current KY standing individual fish consumption advisories

2016-02-17 - Frankfort, KY - Photo Commonwealth of Kentucky, Cabinet for Health & Family Services..
A more restrictive guidance for fish consumption is recommended for these waterbodies in Kentucky, above, has been issued. It should be noted that this advisory uses criteria that are more stringent than the FDA action level of 1 ppm methyl mercury in the edible portion of fish (fresh, frozen or processed). The FDA's jurisdiction in setting action levels is limited to contaminants in food shipped and marketed in interstate commerce, not food that is caught locally by recreational or subsistence fishers. Less than 1 percent of the fish sampled in Kentucky for this study exceeded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) action levels for commercial fish sold in grocery stores or restaurants. - Commonwealth of Kentucky, Cabinet for Health & Family Services.

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New fish from KY waters consumption advisory: 2016

2016-02-17 - Frankfort, KY - Photo Commonwealth of Kentucky, Cabinet for Health & Family Services..
The new guidance below applies to specific groups of fish from all Kentucky waters:
Sensitive Populations: Women of childbearing age and children 6 years and younger are advised to eat no more than six meals per year of predatory fish and no more than one meal per month of panfish and bottom feeder fish. The general public is advised to eat no more than one meal per month of predatory fish and no more than one meal per week of panfish and bottom feeder fish. Note: one meal is considered to be an 8 oz serving for a 150 pound person.
Predatory fish include: Bowfin, Smallmouth Bass, Spotted Bass, Largemouth Bass, White Bass and Striped Bass and their hybrids, Yellow Bass, Flathead Catfish, Blue Catfish, Musky, Sauger and Walleye and their hybrids, Chain Pickerel and all Gars.
Panfish include: Rock Bass, Green Sunfish, Longear Sunfish, Redear Sunfish, Bluegill and Crappie species. Bottom feeder fish include: Bullhead species, Drum, Carp Sucker, White Sucker, Common Carp, Northern Hog Sucker, Channel Catfish, Buffalo species, Spotted Sucker, Redhorse species, Shovelnose Sturgeon and Creek Chub.

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