WOODSTOCK – The Illinois Department of Public Health has announced its 2013 consumption advisories for sport fish caught in Illinois waters.
The Illinois Fish Contaminant Monitoring Program screens fish samples from about 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 and the departments of agriculture, natural resources and public health.
The fish are collected by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and tested by the IEPA. The IDPH issues an annual consumption advisory based on the IEPA test results.
The statewide mercury advisory cautions sensitive populations (i.e. women of childbearing age, pregnant women, nursing mothers and children younger than 15 years of age) 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.
In McHenry County, these advisories include Lake in the Hills and Nippersink Creek.
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 lower mercury intake is to reduce the amount of contaminated fish eaten.
The advisory can be found on the IDPH’s website at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/fishadvisory/illinois_fish_advisory.pdf.