This modifies the advisory that has been in place since 1999 for fish species caught in those streams and is intended to inform the public about the possible risks of eating unrestricted amounts of fish from these waterways.
This advisory is based on the agenct's review of 2000-03 fish contamination information provided by the Department for Environmental Protection and Rockwell International Corporation. Fish were collected by various methods from diverse areas of the streams and tested for organic chemical contaminants such as PCBs and chlordane, as well as heavy metals like mercury, cadmium and lead.
The following are the consumption precautions recommended for various tested species in Mud River and Town Branch. For purposes of this advisory, "one meal" is equal to one-half pound of fish (weight before cooking) eaten by a 150-pound individual.
Town Branch- This advisory remains the same; no type of fish should be consumed from any area of Town Branch.
Mud River from Hancock Lake Dam to Wolf Lick Creek- Bottom-feeding fish, such as catfish, carp, suckers and drum should not be eaten. Game fish, such as bass, sunfish and crappie, may be eaten, but not more than once a month. Women of childbearing age and children should only eat six meals per year of the game fish from this segment of Mud River.
Mud River from Wolf Lick Creek to the Green River- No more than one meal per month should be eaten of bottom-feeding fish. Game fish should not be eaten more than once a week. Children and women of childbearing age should eat no more than six meals per year of bottom-feeding fish from this area and one meal per month of game fish.
Women of childbearing age and children themselves are particularly susceptible to contaminants such as PCBs that build up in the body.
Men and women beyond their childbearing years face fewer health risks from contaminants. However, they should also follow the advisory to reduce their total exposure. Spacing meals consisting of fish over time helps prevent contaminants from building up to harmful levels in the body.
Fish is an excellent source of protein and healthy fats. Proper cleaning, skinning, trimming and cooking can reduce some contaminant levels in fish. Eat only skinless, boneless fillets with as much of the fat removed as possible.
Larger fish usually have higher levels of contaminants. Do not eat the skin, which can contain higher levels of fat; eggs should also be discarded. Roasting, baking and broiling have all been found to reduce levels of PCBs more than other cooking methods.
Cooking doesn't destroy contaminants or lower their toxicity, but it can eliminate some contaminants as fat cooks away. Do not eat or reuse the fat and juices that cook out of fish.
Tissue residue levels in fish from Mud River and Town Branch are monitored as an ongoing program of the state agencies.