High PFAS In Michigan Smelt, State Issues Consumption Advisory

Beyond Lake Superior: High PFAS Found In Rainbow Smelt Across Michigan, Michigan Live, 28 March 2022

Michigan data shows elevated PFAS levels have been detected in almost every rainbow smelt sampled throughout 2021 in a variety of state waters, including two Great Lakes, several tributaries and two inland lakes in the Lower Peninsula.

Thus far, the highest concentrations of PFAS — which are synthetic toxicants that do not naturally occur in the environment — are found in smelt from Lake Superior, where Wisconsin and Michigan have each issued an advisory that warns anglers to limit their consumption (see below).

MDHHS Continues Precautionary Consumption Guideline For Lake Superior Smelt Due To PFAS, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, 21 March 2022

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) continues to recommend that people eat no more than one serving per month of smelt from Lake Superior due to elevated levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), a perfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS).

For MDHHS Eat Safe Fish guidelines, a serving size is eight ounces for adults and two or four ounces for children.

I have a feeling we will be seeing more of these limit-your-consumption advisories in the coming years. And not only in fish. From another Guardian article I’m reading:

In 2019, the FDA initially found 182 food samples to be contaminated with PFAS, but, after changing its methodology part way through the study, that figure dropped to 78, drawing accusations that it was intentionally covering up contamination.

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