Coosa River included in fish consumption advisories

Published 9:51 pm Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Coosa River in Chilton County and surrounding counties remains under a fish consumption advisory issued by the Alabama Department of Public Health.

The advisory warns against consuming striped bass possibly contaminated with PCBs. The affected fish may be found in Lay Lake between Logan Martin Dam and Lay Dam.

Several new advisories were issued due to concern over protecting the public from possible health exposure to mercury from eating fish. The quality of water, based upon the levels of contaminants in fish from the waters in Alabama, generally continues improvements made in recent years.

ADEM collected samples of specific fish species for analysis from various water bodies throughout the state during the fall of 2007. The Alabama Department of Public Health assessed the analytical results to determine whether any of the tested contaminants in the fish may give rise to potential human health effects.

All advisories previously issued using Food and Drug Administration guidelines remain in effect for this year (2008) and other advisories have been updated to reflect the EPA consumption levels.

Fish were analyzed for up to 25 different materials including contaminants in the water (PCBs, including dioxins), pesticides (endosulfan, hexachlorobenzene, chlordane, lindane, dieldrin, endrin, DDT and its breakdown products and congeners, heptachlors, Mirex, chlorpyriphos and toxaphene), and heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, mercury and selenium) to which the fish may have been exposed.

A No Consumption Advisory issued for any species is interpreted to mean that the fish sampled have been analyzed to show the presence of a contaminant in excess of advisory levels. Consumption of any fish of this type from a specific waterbody may place the consumer at risk for harm from the contaminant. If an advisory had been issued for largemouth bass and not for channel catfish or black crappie, it would be advised that individuals should eat no largemouth bass, but consumption of channel catfish or black crappie is permissible without endangering health.

Women of childbearing age and children should not consume any of these fish on which a Limited or No Consumption Advisory exists.

The following advisories, issued in previous years, remain in effect:

Coosa River – Chilton, Coosa, Shelby, St. Clair, Talladega counties

Lay Lake between Logan Martin Dam and Lay Dam

Contaminant – PCBs

Do not consume striped bass

* Everyone should avoid eating the species of fish listed in the defined area.

** A Limited Consumption Advisory states that women of reproductive age and children less than 15 years old should avoid eating certain fish from these areas. Other people should limit their consumption of the particular species to one meal per month. A meal is considered to be 6 ounces of cooked fish or 8 ounces of raw fish.