Crab Orchard Creek,
Powderhorn Lake, Cook County
Additionally, several less-restrictive advisories have been
issued this year.
The Illinois Fish Contaminant Monitoring Program screens fish
samples from approximately 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 Illinois Environmental Protection
Agency. The Illinois Department of Public Health issues an annual
consumption advisory based on the IEPA test results. The advisory is
also available on the IDPH website at
"Fish can be an important part of a balanced diet and the
advisories are not meant to discourage people from eating fish, but
should be used as a guideline to help people decide the types of
fish to eat, how often and how to prepare the fish to reduce
possible contaminants," said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director of the
Illinois Department of Public Health. "While nutritious and low in
fat, contaminants may make some fish unsafe to eat except in limited
quantities, particularly for women of childbearing age and young
While there is no known immediate health hazard from eating
contaminated fish from any body of water in Illinois, there are
concerns about the effects of long-term, low-level exposure to
pesticides and chemicals, such as chlordane, polychlorinated
biphenyls and methylmercury. Methylmercury has been found to cause
reproductive damage and has adverse effects on the central nervous
system, including developmental delays.
The advisories are based primarily on protecting sensitive
populations, including women of childbearing age, pregnant women,
fetuses, nursing mothers and children younger than 15 years of age.
New 2013 advisories:
[to top of second column]
The statewide mercury advisory cautions sensitive
populations 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.
Women beyond childbearing age and
males older than 15 years of age may eat unlimited quantities of
predator fish, with the exception of the fish caught from the 33
bodies of water that are on the special mercury advisory.
Big Muddy River and
Devil's Kitchen Lake
(headwaters to Route 6)
Greenville Old City
Lake (Patriot's Park Lake)
Little Grassy Lake
Lake in the Hills
Lake of the Woods
Lake Renwick East
Little Wabash River
Mount Olive New City
Marquette Park Lagoon
Pyramid State Park
Rock River (Rockford
to Milan Steel Dam)
Sam Parr Lake
Siloam Springs Lake
Skillet Fork Creek
For fish that may contain PCBs and chlordane, the advisory
provides consumption advice in five categories -- unlimited
consumption; no more than one meal per week; no more than one meal
per month; no more than six meals per year; and do not eat.
Anglers who vary the type and source of sport fish consumed --
opting for younger, smaller fish and consuming leaner species such
as walleye and panfish over fatty species such as the common carp
and catfish -- and who prepare and cook fish in ways that reduce the
amount of contaminants can limit their exposure to harmful
substances that may be found in fish.
Several ways to reduce any PCBs and
chlordane present in edible portions of fish include:
Remove the skin
from the fillet and cut away any fatty tissue from the belly and
dorsal areas before cooking.
Broil, bake or
grill in a way that allows fat to drip away.
Discard fat drippings or broth from
broiled or poached fish. Do not use in other dishes.
These precautions will not reduce the amount of methylmercury in
fish. 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 reduce mercury intake is to reduce the
amount of contaminated fish eaten.
Department of Public Health file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]