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2012 Illinois Sports Fish Consumption Advisory

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced the 2012 consumption advisories for sport fish caught in Illinois waters. This year, new advisories are being issued for the following lakes and rivers:

Carbondale City Reservoir, Jackson County

Greenville Old City Lake (Patriot’s Park Lake), Bond County

Henderson Creek (below the junction with Cedar Creek), Warren County

Lake of the Woods, Champaign County

Pyramid State Park, Perry County

Siloam Springs Lake, Adams County

Vermilion River, Champaign and Vermilion counties.

Additionally, several less-restrictive advisories have been issued this year.

The Illinois Fish Contaminant Monitoring Program screens fish samples from approximately 40 bodies of water each year for contamination from 14 banned pesticides, industrial chemicals and methylmercury. The program is a joint effort of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and the departments of agriculture, natural resources and public health.

The fish are collected by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and tested by IEPA. IDPH issues an annual consumption advisory based on the IEPA test results. The advisory also can be found on the IDPH website at: www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/fishadvisory/index.htm.

“The advisories are not meant to discourage people from eating fish, but should be used as a guideline to help people decide the types of fish to eat, how often and how to prepare the fish to reduce possible contaminants,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Acting Director Dr. Arthur F. Kohrman. “Fish are a good source of high quality protein and other nutrients and are low in fat. However, contaminants may make some fish unsafe to eat except in limited quantities, particularly for women of childbearing age and young children.”

While there is no known immediate health hazard from eating contaminated fish from any body of water in Illinois, there are concerns about the effects of long-term, low-level exposure to pesticides and chemicals, such as chlordane, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and methylmercury. Methylmercury has been found to cause reproductive damage and have adverse effects on the central nervous system, including developmental delays.

The advisories are based primarily on protecting sensitive populations, including women of childbearing age, pregnant women, fetuses, nursing mothers and children younger than 15 years of age.

Changes and new 2012 advisories:

Carbondale City Reservoir, Jackson County – methylmercury

Largemouth Bass larger than 15 inches – one meal per month for sensitive populations; one meal per week for others

Crappie larger than 12 inches – one meal per week for sensitive populations

Casey Fork Creek, Jefferson County – polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

All Channel Catfish – one meal per week

Cedar Creek, Warren County – polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

All Channel Catfish – one meal per month

Evergreen Lake, McLean County – methylmercury

Crappie larger than 10 inches – one meal per week for sensitive populations

Greenville Old City Lake (Patriot’s Park Lake), Bond County – methylmercury

All Largemouth Bass – one meal per month for sensitive populations; one meal per week for all others

Henderson Creek (below Cedar Creek), Warren County – polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

All common Carp – one meal per month

Kickapoo Creek, Peoria County – polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

Common Carp larger than 19 inches – one meal per week

Kishwaukee River, Boone, McHenry and Winnebago counties – methylmercury

All Smallmouth Bass – one meal per month for sensitive populations; one meal per week for all others

All Rock Bass – one meal per week for sensitive populations

Lake Bracken, Knox County – polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and methylmercury

Common Carp smaller than 23 inches – one meal per week

Common Carp larger than 23 inches – one meal per month

Largemouth Bass smaller than 17 inches – one meal per week

Largemouth Bass larger than 17 inches – one meal per month

Lake Michigan, Cook and Lake counties – polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

Lake Trout less than 25 inches – one meal per month

Lake Trout 25-29 inches – six meals per year

Lake Trout larger than 29 inches should not be eaten

Lake of the Woods, Champaign County – polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and methylmercury

All common Carp – one meal per month

Largemouth Bass larger than 15 inches – one meal per month for sensitive populations; one meal per week for all others

Pyramid State Park, Perry County – methylmercury

All Largemouth Bass – one meal per month for sensitive populations; one meal per week for all others

Siloam Springs Lake State Park, Tazewell County – methylmercury

All Largemouth Bass – one meal per month for sensitive populations; one meal per week for all others

Skillet Fork Creek, Jefferson, Marion and Wayne counties – methylmercury

Common Carp larger than 21 inches – one meal per month for sensitive populations; one meal per week for all others

Vermilion River¸Vermilion and Champaign counties – polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

Common Carp larger than 26 inches – one meal per week

Channel Catfish larger than 16 inches – one meal per week

The statewide mercury advisory cautions sensitive populations to eat no more than one meal per week of predator fish, which pose a greater risk because they feed on other fish and accumulate higher amounts of methylmercury. Predator fish include all species of Black Bass, (Largemouth, Smallmouth and Spotted) Striped Bass, White Bass, Hybrid Striped Bass, Flathead Catfish, Muskellunge, Northern Pike, Saugeye, Sauger and Walleye.

Women beyond childbearing age and males older than 15 years of age may eat unlimited quantities of predator fish, with the exception of the fish caught from the 33 bodies of water that are on the special mercury advisory. These include:

Arrowhead Lake

Big Muddy River and Tributaries

Campus Lake

Carbondale City Reservoir

Cedar Lake

Devil’s Kitchen Lake

DuPage River (Headwaters to Route 6)

Evergreen Lake

Greenville Old City Lake (Patriot’s Park Lake)

Heidecke Lake

Kinkaid Lake

Kishwaukee River

Lake Bracken

Little Grassy Lake

Lake in the Hills

Lake Jacksonville

Lake of the Woods

Lake Renwick East

Lake Sara

Little Wabash River and Tributaries

Mt. Olive New City Lake

Marquette Park Lagoon

Midlothian Reservoir

Monee Reservoir

Nippersink Creek

Ohio River

Pana Lake

Pyramid State Park

Rock River (Rockford to Milan Steel Dam)

Sam Parr Lake

Siloam Springs Lake

Skillet Fork Creek

Wabash River

For fish that may contain PCBs and chlordane, the advisory provides consumption advice in five categories – unlimited consumption, no more than one meal per week, no more than one meal per month, no more than six meals per year and do not eat.

Anglers who vary the type and source of sport fish consumed – opting for younger, smaller fish, and consuming leaner species such as Walleye and Panfish over fatty species such as the common Carp and Catfish, and who prepare and cook fish in ways that reduce the amount of contaminants – can limit their exposure to harmful substances that may be found in fish.

Several ways to reduce any PCBs and chlordane present in edible portions of fish include:

Remove the skin from the fillet and cut away any fatty tissue from the belly and dorsal areas before cooking.

Broil, bake or grill in a way that allows fat to drip away.

Discard fat drippings or broth from broiled or poached fish. Do not use in other dishes.

These precautions will not reduce the amount of methylmercury in fish. Mercury is found throughout a fish’s muscle tissue (the edible part of the fish) rather than in the fat and skin. Therefore, the only way to reduce mercury intake is to reduce the amount of contaminated fish eaten.