The recommendation comes just in time for the spring launch of smelt, a popular time for fishermen to fish nets when they swim into the tributaries of the Great Lakes for spawning.
Lynn Satfin, a spokeswoman for MDHHS, said the agency advises visitors who know the origin of the fish in shops or restaurants to limit consumption if the fish comes from Upper Lake.
The announcement comes a year after Wisconsin officials elevated levels were detected with PFOS – a PFAS compound that was once a key component in Scotchgard and other stains and water repellents – in smelt collected near the Apostle Islands in western Lake Superior.
Studies link PFOS to developmental problems, hormonal and immune problems, fertility problems, cancer and other human diseases.
After the find in Wisconsin, Michigan officials warned against eating too much Lake Superior smelt, and conducted their own smelt tests in locations scattered along the lake’s southern shoreline. Elevated PFOS levels appeared in several samples, with the highest rate of 112 parts per billion in fish taken from Fourteen Mile Point, northeast of Antanagon.
For the context, Michigan officials are beginning to advise people to limit fish consumption when PFOS concentrations reach 9 parts per billion.
Brendan Reed, MDHHS toxicologist who runs the agency «Eat safe fish“, Noted that the consultation is still” warning “because the data of the state is not analyzed to the end. Official recommendations for Michigan may appear next year, he said.
Government officials also took smelt samples from Lake Huron and inland lakes including Seagull and Higgins. They are waiting for the final results, but Reed said preliminary data also show that fish in these waterways are contaminated with PFAS, though “not as high as what we saw in Lake Superior.”
For Roger LaBin, an enrolled member and environmental officer of the Lac Vieux Desert Band Indians of Lake Superior Chippewa, continuing the recommendations for smelt means he will have to cut the fries he usually tastes all spring before freezing packages full of smelt to eat smelt to eat during the year.
This is nothing new for Labin, who already has a habit of normalizing his food due to mercury contamination. Each new consumption recommendation means a further loss of access to the staple foods that have long supported the Great Lakes tribes.
“It’s just additional pollution that infects the great waters of the Great Lakes,” he said. – Everything we hunt, fish or collect has suffered. That’s why we need to look for alternatives. “
The recommendation comes at a time when hunting and fisheries advocacy groups such as the Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) are pushing for more resources to study the impact PFAS on Michigan Fish and Game.
MUCC spokesman Nick Green expressed concern about another restriction on the ability of michiganders to participate in $ 11.2 billion hunting and fishing industry.
“When you start beating fish and game, that money also starts to disappear,” Green said.
Government officials have not identified a source of pollution to Lake Superior PFAS, said Scott Dean, a spokesman for the Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy of Michigan.
Dean said EGLE also collected samples of lake herring from Lake Superior and Michigan, but test results are yet to be found.
Recent state data on PFAS in Michigan fish contain glimpses of good news: data from the Huron River in southeastern Michigan, another heavily polluted waterway, suggests that fish contamination could ease as soon as toxic chemicals stop flowing.
The fish in the 900-square-mile watershed is so contaminated with PFAS that government officials are advising fishermen not to eat any amount of fish from an area spanning five counties.