ADPH issues 2020 fish consumption advisory; local rivers listed

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State health officials have released the fish consumption advisory for this year.

The Alabama Department of Public Health updates their fish consumption advisories every year based on data collected the previous fall by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM).  

The entire 2020 fish consumption advisory can be found here:

ADEM, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources collected samples of specific fish species for analysis from various water bodies throughout the state.

They collected 522 samples from 46 collection stations. ADPH analyzed the results to determine whether any of the tested contaminants in the fish could cause possible health effects in humans.  

Fish consumption advisories are issued for specific bodies of water and specific fish species taken from those areas.

The advisory has guidance on the safe number of meals of that species of fish that can be eaten in a given period of time, such as meals per week, meals per month or do not eat any. A meal portion consists of 6 ounces of cooked fish or 8 ounces of raw fish.

The advice in the release and complete listings of the posted fish consumption advisories are offered as guidance to individuals who wish to eat fish they catch from various water bodies throughout the state.

ADPH said there are no regulations that ban the consumption of any of the fish caught within the state, nor is there a risk of an acute toxic episode that could result from consuming any of the fish containing the contaminants for which the state has conducted analyses.  

A fish consumption advisory can be issued for one or more specific species of fish within a waterbody or an advisory can be extended to include all fish species within that waterbody.  When excess levels of a contaminant are found in a specific species of fish, an advisory is issued for that specific species.

For example, if an advisory had been issued for largemouth bass and not for channel catfish, it would be advised that individuals should not eat largemouth bass, but consumption of channel catfish is permissible without endangering health.

When excess levels of a contaminant are found in multiple fish species sampled from a specific waterbody, a Do Not Eat Any advisory is issued. Consumption of any fish from a specific waterbody under a Do Not Eat Any advisory may place the consumer at risk for harm from the contaminant.  

If a species is listed in the advisory, ADPH says it is prudent to assume that similar species with similar feeding habits should be consumed with caution. For example, if black crappie is listed and white crappie is not, because they are in the same family, all crappie would fall under the listed advisory.

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