Perfluorochemicals (PFCs) and Fish

Fish Consumption Advisory

Some areas of the Mississippi River, several metro area lakes and a few lakes near Duluth have been tested for PFCs. PFOS is the only PFC that accumulates to levels of concern in fish. Most fish, even in these areas, have low levels of PFOS, so that the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Fish Advisory recommends unrestricted consumption or one meal per week for many species.  However, four metro area lakes (Twin Lakes, Calhoun, Johanna and Lake Elmo) had levels of PFOS that require the more restrictive advice of only one fish meal per month. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is investigating the sources of perfluorochemicals in fish to determine if there is a pattern to the findings.

Fish are an excellent source of low-fat protein and most fish are healthy to eat. For the MDH Statewide Safe Eating Guidelines and Site Specific Advice for fish consumption, see the Fish Consumption Advice.  People can reduce their exposure to PFCs in fish by following MDH’s Site-Specific Meal Advice for Tested Lakes and Rivers. Special cleaning and cooking precautions used to reduce contaminants like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that concentrate in fat are not effective with PFOS. 

Health Guidelines

Perfluorochemicals in Fish Fillets from Minnesota (PDF: 332KB/1 page) - Poster Presented at the National Forum on Contaminants in Fish, July 2007

Frequently Asked Questions

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Updated Friday, September 30, 2011 at 09:02AM