Home >> News >> 2006

Fish advisory issued for carp in Utah Lake


Fish advisory issued for carp in Utah Lake because of PCBs

May 16, 2006 - Fish advisory issued for carp in Utah Lake

SALT LAKE CITY - A fish consumption advisory has been issued for carp found in Utah Lake after state officials found elevated levels of PCBs in the fish. The PCBs were found in samples taken from the lake as part of an effort by the Utah Department of Natural Resources and the June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program to restore the native June Sucker.

Fish consumption advisory signs will be posted at access points to Utah Lake stating that:

Eating more than these amounts over a long period of time could result in an intake of PCBs that exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency health recommendations. Any health risks associated with eating carp from Utah Lake are based on long-term consumption and are not tied to eating fish occasionally. There are no health risks associated with PCBs for other uses of the lake, such as swimming, boating, and waterskiing.

Fish were collected from Utah Lake as part of the June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program's effort to reduce and control the carp population, and determine whether they are fit for human consumption, for use as animal feed, or are safe for other uses. Of all the potential chemical contaminants analyzed, including mercury, only total PCBs were found to be elevated.

PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are mixtures of up to 209 individual chlorinated compounds. PCBs are oily liquids or solids consisting of man-made chemicals that are not naturally found in the environment. PCBs can be attached to sediments, with no effect to water quality. Because PCBs accumulate in fat, exposure to PCBs from fish can be significantly reduced by removing the skin and fat from fish filets. Information about how to prepare fish is available at: www.epa.gov/waterscience/fish/30cwafish.pdf.

Officials from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Utah Department of Health, Utah Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Utah County Health Department worked in partnership to issue this advisory.

Information about the advisory and the health effects of PCBs is available at: health.utah.gov/enviroepi.

Because elevated levels of PCBs were found in carp, other fish species will be collected and analyzed this summer. Fish advisories will be issued or updated, as needed, based on additional information. An environmental investigation will be initiated as an effort to track down and clean up the source of PCBs, if possible.