The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has announced updated consumption advisories for sport fish caught in Illinois waters. The changes are the result of continued sampling by the Illinois Fish Contaminant Monitoring Program (FCMP).
This year, the IDPH has issued seven new site-specific methylmercury advisories and added Dongola Lake, Dutchman Lake, Lake Nellie, and White Hall City Lake to the list of waters with site-specific methylmercury advisories. No new PCB advisories were issued, keeping with the statewide trend of declining polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) levels. Existing PCB advisories were eased for two waters, Horseshoe Lake (catfish) and Waukegan North Harbor and removed from three others – Horseshoe Lake (common carp), Raccoon Lake, and the Wabash River.
A statewide methylmercury advisory remains in place for all Illinois waters. The statewide advisory cautions sensitive populations to eat no more than one meal per week of predatory fish, unless more restrictive site-specific advisories are in place due to elevated methylmercury levels. Predatory fish include all species of black bass, gar, salmon, trout, striped bass, white bass, walleye, sauger, flathead catfish, muskellunge, northern pike and associated hybrids.
Fish consumption advisories are issued to protect sensitive populations, including women of childbearing age, pregnant women, fetuses, nursing mothers and children younger than 15 years of age. While there is no known immediate health hazard from eating contaminated fish from any Illinois waters, there are concerns about the effects of long-term, low-level exposure to chlordane, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and methylmercury from fish on these populations.
The FCMP is a combined effort of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), Illinois Department of Agriculture, and IDPH. The fish are collected by IDNR and tested by IEPA. Advisories are issued by IDPH based on IEPA test results. Fish advisories can be viewed here or by using the interactive fish advisory map.