Advisory issued: Limit how much of these 3 fish you eat from Piscataway Creek

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland is recommending people limit their consumption of redbreast sunfish, yellow bullhead catfish and largemouth bass from the Piscataway Creek in Prince George’s County because of per-fluoroalky and poly-fluoroalkyl contamination.

It’s the first time the state has issued such an advisory.

The state issued the advisory because of elevated levels of PFAS, a chemical compound known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances in seafood.

More than 4,000 chemicals make up PFAS. According to the Maryland Department of the Environment, they range from “stain- and water-resistant fabrics and carpeting, cleaning products, paints, cookware, food packaging and fire-fighting foams.”

The department found elevated concentrations of PFOS in redbreast sunfish, yellow bullhead catfish and largemouth bass, leading to new guidelines for the Potomac River tributary.

The new guidelines recommend the following:

  • Adults and children should eat no more than one meal a month of redbreast sunfish from Piscataway Creek.
  • Children should eat no more than seven meals per month of yellow bullhead catfish.
  • Adults should eat no more than three meals per month of largemouth bass, while children should be limited to two meals per month.
Click to enlarge the map of the area of Piscataway Creek where you should not catch the fish. (Courtesy Maryland Department of the Environment)

“Maryland is committed to reducing the risks of PFAS chemicals in our state and continuing our close coordination with scientific, local, state and federal partners,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. “Our focus on PFAS in fish tissue and the resulting consumption advisory is another step forward in understanding, communicating, and reducing the potential for harm.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that prolonged exposure to certain PFAS can increase the risk of health concerns.

They include fetal development issues during pregnancy, as well as cancer, immune system damage or damage to the liver, thyroid or other organ systems.

The finding for Piscataway Creek came after routine monitoring of fish.

A year ago, Maryland started sampling of fish tissue for PFAS on the Eastern Shore from the Chester, Choptank, Corsica, Elk and Wicomico rivers and Isle of Wight and Chesapeake bays. No levels of concern were found.

WTOP’s Colleen Kelleher contributed to this story.

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