May 26, 2024

Pollutants in Fish Caught in Mississippi River in MN

Certain pollutants in in fish caught in the Mississippi River and Lake Rebecca in Minnesota has prompted a warning to fishermen from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Pollutants in Fish Caught in Mississippi River in MN

Certain people should avoid eating fish caught in the Mississippi River from Ford Dam in St. Paul to Hastings Dam, known as Pool 2, and Lake Rebecca, which is near Hastings. Those fish are polluted with a mixture of chemicals including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Previous guidance for those bodies of water recommended not eating certain types of fish because of mercury contamination and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Those toxins have been detected in Minnesota fish for decades, but this new data on the presence of these pollutants in fish prompted this update.

PFAS are manmade chemicals that do not break down in the environment. They can build up in the body over time. Exposure to some PFAS is associated with certain types of cancer. Children’s bodies and immune systems are the most sensitive to these types of toxins.

MDH Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff said in a statement, “The updated fish consumption guidance for Lake Rebecca and Pool 2 applies only to higher risk populations at this time. It’s important to note that with PFAS, the risk is based on long-term exposure, not the kind of short-term exposure you might have from a few meals.”

DNR Regional Fisheries Manager Brian Nerbonne added, “Even with the new recommendations, fishing can still be enjoyed at Lake Rebecca and Pool 2 on a catch-and-release basis. Here in the land of 10,000 lakes, there are plenty of places to fish, so people who do want to eat the fish they catch can find alternative water bodies. Our Fishing in the Neighborhood guide lists opportunities in the surrounding area where people can fish close to where they live.”

Some alternative fishing spots include the Lower St. Croix River south of Stillwater, Lake Nokomis, Rogers Lake, White Bear Lake, and Bald Eagle Lake.

A comprehensive ban on PFAS was signed into law by Minnesota Governor Tim Walt this year. It bans all non-essential use of PFAS and requires manufactures to disclose of PFAS are present in the products they sell in the state.

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