The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health has issued an updated fish consumption advisory for blue catfish, channel catfish and largemouth bass in Mountain Island Lake in Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties.
Testing has shown elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in both species of catfish exceeding the state action level for PCBs of 0.05 mg/kg. Previous studies have shown that largemouth bass in all waters of North Carolina have elevated levels of mercury.
DHHS recommends that no one eat channel catfish from Mountain Island Lake. In addition, public health officials recommend that pregnant women, nursing women, women who may become pregnant, and children under age 15 should not eat any largemouth bass or blue catfish from Mountain Island Lake. Other people should not eat more than two meals a month of largemouth bass and one meal a month of blue catfish from Mountain Island Lake. A meal of fish is approximately 6 ounces of uncooked fish.
PCBs may adversely impact the neurological development of children, the reproductive system, the immune system, and may cause cancer. Mercury presents an increased risk of adverse effects to the developing brain of unborn babies of pregnant women who eat fish contaminated with mercury. Young children may also be at risk of adverse neurological effects from eating fish contaminated with mercury.
The PCB and mercury contamination in fish does not present a known health risk for persons engaging in other recreational activities such as touching the water, wading, swimming, boating or handling the fish.
More information on health issues related to fish contaminants is available on the DHHS Division of Public Health website.