State: Limit fish eaten from some east metro waterways

St. Paul (AP) – The Minnesota Department of Health is warning
people to limit the amount of fish they eat from several lakes in
the eastern Twin Cities area where tests have shown the fish
contain a chemical once manufactured by 3M.

The new fish advisories were issued last Thursday for Como and a
chain of lakes including Phalen, Gervais, Gervais Mill Pond, Round,
Keller, Kohlman, and Spoon in Ramsey County and for Demontreville,
Olson, Lake Elmo, and Ravine lakes in Washington County.

The chemical levels don’t likely pose a health risk for
swimmers, health officials said.

The new advice is based on analysis of fish sampling that is
part of a broader ongoing study by the Minnesota Pollution Control
Agency of perfluorochemical contamination in Minnesota fish,
surface and ground waters, soil, and air.

The sampling was begun after chemical perfluorooctane sulfonate
was found earlier this year in bluegills taken from Lake Calhoun in
south Minneapolis. About 30 lakes in the metro area were chosen for
sampling to see if the Calhoun findings were unusual. So far, data
analysis has been completed on fish fillets from 10 lakes, the
health department and the MPCA said in a joint news release.

Results from the other lakes will become available over the next
two to three months, the agencies said.

While the source of the PFOS in urban lakes hasn’t been
determined, health officials said it’s possible the elevated levels
in fish from Lake Elmo are related to the nearby 3M waste disposal
sites, which are known to have affected ground water in the east
Twin Cities metro area.

3M spokesman Bill Nelson said more data are needed before that
determination can be made.

In some studies, the PFOS has been shown to cause cancer, liver,
and thyroid problems in animals, but no adverse health effects have
been found in humans.

The fish advisories are based on potential risks from years of
consumption. Health officials said there have been no reports of
people getting sick after eating fish containing PFOS.

‘As we get more fish from more lakes, we’re hoping to see some
patterns and track down the causes,’ said Paul Hoff, who’s
supervising the study. ‘We want to find the source and cut it
off.’

3M’s Nelson said the recent findings of elevated chemical levels
in the metro lakes supports the company’s decision to phase out the
manufacture of PFOS. 3M began manufacturing the chemical in the
1950s and stopped in 2002.

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