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Area lakes test negative for PFCs

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outdoors Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
(218) 333-9819 customer support
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Walleyes swimming in nine of Minnesota's top-10 walleye lakes displayed levels of perfluorooctain sulfonate (PFOS) that were either very low or undetectable, according to a report released by Minnesota Department of Health (MDDH) officials.

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The low levels suggest that the lakes, which include Leech, Cass, Upper Red and Winnie, have very little or no contamination from perfluorochemicals (PFCs), according to the officials.

The other lakes on the walleye top-10 list that were tested for PFOS were Lake of the Woods, Rainy, Vermillion, Mille Lacs, Kabetogama and Lake Pepin. Only Lake Pepin, which is part of the Mississippi River, had levels of PFCs that led to recommendations to limit consumption for some species.

Perfluorochemicals are a family of man-made chemicals that have been used for decades to make products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water.

"This is good news," said Bemidji Area DNR Fisheries Supervisor Gary Barnard who added that PFCs are mainly transmitted through the watershed.

The results have prompted MDH officials to give the all-clear for walleye consumption on the nine lakes with regard to PFCs. There may, however, be consumption restrictions on the lakes because of mercury contamination which is mainly transmitted through the air and has infiltrated most Minnesota waters.

Mercury has had an impact on the area lakes and fish consumption advisories are in effect on most of them because of the chemical.

The advisories include:

- Leech Lake: The public is advised to eat only one meal of walleyes or one meal of northern pike per week, regardless of size. Pregnant women, women who may become pregnant and children under the age of 15 are advised to limit their consumption of cisco, walleyes and perch to one meal a week and their consumption of northern pike to one meal per month.

- Cass Lake: The public is advised to eat only one meal of walleyes or one meal of northern pike per week, regardless of size. Pregnant women, women who may become pregnant and children under the age of 15 are advised to limit their consumption of cisco and perch to one meal a week and their consumption of walleyes and northern pike to one meal per month.

- Winnie: The public is advised to eat only one meal of northern pike per week, regardless of size. There is no restriction to the general public on eating walleyes. Pregnant women, women who may become pregnant and children under the age of 15 are advised to limit their consumption of walleyes and perch to one meal a week and their consumption of northern pike over 25 inches to one meal per month. The recommendation for eating northern pike under 25 inches is one meal per week.

Restrictions on Upper Red Lake because of mercury had not been previously announced. MDH officials plan to release their recommendations with the state's updated fish advisories in June.

While mercury may be a problem to some consumers, the recent testing indicates that the public has no reason to worry about PFCs in the nine walleye lakes.

"Minnesotans can continue to enjoy the benefits that come from eating fish from some of their favorite lakes without concern for PFCs," said Pat McCann, MDH fish advisory program manager.

"People should, however, continue to follow the existing consumption advice for those lakes which is based on mercury."

Minnesota's 10 largest walleye lakes are the most important fishing waters in the state," according to DNR officials. They account for about 40 percent of the statewide walleye harvest and are usually among the most popular lakes with sport anglers.

"Most people can benefit from including more fish in their diet," McCann said. "We strongly encourage Minnesota residents to follow advice in the guidelines and eat fish that are low in contaminants."

The fish consumption advisory on each Minnesota lake can be found on the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/index.

Y pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

Walleyes swimming in nine of Minnesota's top-10 walleye lakes displayed levels of perfluorooctain sulfonate (PFOS) that were either very low or undetectable, according to a report released by Minnesota Department of Health (MDDH) officials.

The low levels suggest that the lakes, which include Leech, Cass, Upper Red and Winnie, have very little or no contamination from perfluorochemicals (PFCs), according to the officials.

The other lakes on the walleye top-10 list that were tested for PFOS were Lake of the Woods, Rainy, Vermillion, Mille Lacs, Kabetogama and Lake Pepin. Only Lake Pepin, which is part of the Mississippi River, had levels of PFCs that led to recommendations to limit consumption for some species.

Perfluorochemicals are a family of man-made chemicals that have been used for decades to make products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water.

"This is good news," said Bemidji Area DNR Fisheries Supervisor Gary Barnard who added that PFCs are mainly transmitted through the watershed.

The results have prompted MDH officials to give the all-clear for walleye consumption on the nine lakes with regard to PFCs. There may, however, be consumption restrictions on the lakes because of mercury contamination which is mainly transmitted through the air and has infiltrated most Minnesota waters.

Mercury has had an impact on the area lakes and fish consumption advisories are in effect on most of them because of the chemical.

The advisories include:

- Leech Lake: The public is advised to eat only one meal of walleyes or one meal of northern pike per week, regardless of size. Pregnant women, women who may become pregnant and children under the age of 15 are advised to limit their consumption of cisco, walleyes and perch to one meal a week and their consumption of northern pike to one meal per month.

- Cass Lake: The public is advised to eat only one meal of walleyes or one meal of northern pike per week, regardless of size. Pregnant women, women who may become pregnant and children under the age of 15 are advised to limit their consumption of cisco and perch to one meal a week and their consumption of walleyes and northern pike to one meal per month.

- Winnie: The public is advised to eat only one meal of northern pike per week, regardless of size. There is no restriction to the general public on eating walleyes. Pregnant women, women who may become pregnant and children under the age of 15 are advised to limit their consumption of walleyes and perch to one meal a week and their consumption of northern pike over 25 inches to one meal per month. The recommendation for eating northern pike under 25 inches is one meal per week.

Restrictions on Upper Red Lake because of mercury had not been previously announced. MDH officials plan to release their recommendations with the state's updated fish advisories in June.

While mercury may be a problem to some consumers, the recent testing indicates that the public has no reason to worry about PFCs in the nine walleye lakes.

"Minnesotans can continue to enjoy the benefits that come from eating fish from some of their favorite lakes without concern for PFCs," said Pat McCann, MDH fish advisory program manager.

"People should, however, continue to follow the existing consumption advice for those lakes which is based on mercury."

Minnesota's 10 largest walleye lakes are the most important fishing waters in the state," according to DNR officials. They account for about 40 percent of the statewide walleye harvest and are usually among the most popular lakes with sport anglers.

"Most people can benefit from including more fish in their diet," McCann said. "We strongly encourage Minnesota residents to follow advice in the guidelines and eat fish that are low in contaminants."

The fish consumption advisory on each Minnesota lake can be found on the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/index.

pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

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Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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