Monday, October 18, 2021

MD Sets First Fish Consumption Advisory for PFAS

The advisory includes Largemouth Bass
The Balmer Sun, Maryland issues first fish consumption advisory because of PFAS

Maryland is recommending that people limit their consumption of certain fish in the Piscataway Creek in Prince George’s County because of PFAS contamination.

It’s the first time the state has issued such an advisory as a result of elevated levels of a per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substance in seafood, according to a news release from Friday.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that prolonged exposure to certain PFAS can increase the risk of fetal development issues during pregnancy, as well as cancer, immune system damage or damage to the liver, thyroid or other organ systems.

The chemicals have been used extensively in consumer products dating back to the 1940s, including nonstick cookware and water repellant fabrics. Their inclusion in firefighting foams, sometimes used during training exercises at military bases, has contributed to concerns about contamination in neighboring waterways and groundwater.

It might be a redbreast sunfish

Looking at a map, it's certainly not obvious to me why Piscataway Creek would be uniquely contaminated with PFAS. Fort Washington is nearby, but it hasn't been a real military installation for many years, long before the synthesis of PFAS.

“Maryland is committed to reducing the risks of PFAS chemicals in our state and continuing our close coordination with scientific, local, state and federal partners,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. “Our focus on PFAS in fish tissue and the resulting consumption advisory is another step forward in understanding, communicating, and reducing the potential for harm.”

For Piscataway Creek, a Potomac River tributary, the Maryland Department of the Environment is recommending that adults and children eat no more than one meal per month of redbreast sunfish. Adults should have no more than three meals per month of largemouth bass from the creek, and children should eat no more than two meals per month with the fish. Finally, children should eat no more than seven meals per month of yellow bullhead catfish from the creek.

No, it won't turn into a handsome prince
 Eww, who wants to eat nasty old bullheads anyway?

As a result of its findings, MDE plans to monitor fish elsewhere in the Potomac River watershed from this fall through next fall, according to a news release from the department.

MDE started monitoring fish for PFAS contamination last fall, beginning on the Eastern Shore, with the Chester, Choptank, Corsica, Elk and Wicomico rivers. At those locations, officials didn’t find any chemical concentrations of concern, according to a news release from MDE. Now, MDE is conducting additional fish tissue sampling at sites with potential PFAS contamination sources nearby, and sites frequented by anglers. Maryland environmental regulators are also checking Chesapeake Bay oysters for PFAS. The mollusks filter water throughout their lives, which could allow PFAS to accumulate in their tissue over time. So far, they’ve tested oysters in St. Mary’s River, Patuxent River and Fishing Bay and found concentrations below the detection limit.

PFAs are a new up and coming contaminant. Called 'forever" chemicals', because of their resistance to degradation, like PCBs and DDT, they will end up virtually everywhere as they move through the environment. Frankly, I'm not all that convinced by the evidence for their being toxic and/or carcinogenic to humans at anywhere near the concentrations found in the environment. 

The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Queen Victoria Eugenie Of Spain posted on time and under budget at The Other McCain.

No comments:

Post a Comment