PFAS in fish in Alapaha River 2023-01-17

Largemouth bass caught in the Alapaha River at Statenville Boat Ramp had high concentrations of PFAS forever chemicals.

EWG summarizes the risk:

Eating just one PFAS-contaminated freshwater fish per month could be the equivalent of drinking a glass of water with very high levels of PFOS or other forever chemicals.

[Map and data: PFAS in fish in Alapaha River --EWG 2023-01-17]
Map and data: PFAS in fish in Alapaha River –EWG 2023-01-17 Sample taken: 2014. Source: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO), PFAS National Datasets, Ambient Environmental Sampling for PFAS. Available here.

EWG, January 17, 2023, ‘Forever chemicals’ in freshwater fish: Mapping a growing environmental justice problem EPA data reveal high levels of PFAS in fish and human exposure risks,

What does this map show?

From coast to coast, and in almost every state in the U.S., high levels of the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS contaminate freshwater fish. The potential harm is not limited to fish, but the pollution poses health risks to communities that catch and eat the fish.

This map, based on data from the Environmental Protection Agency, confirms the detection of PFAS at alarming levels in freshwater fish in U.S. bodies of water. We analyzed a subset of this data including over 500 fish fillet samples collected by EPA monitoring programs from 2013 to 2015. The average amount of total PFAS in a freshwater fish is 9,500 nanograms per kilogram, and an average of 11,800 nanograms per kilogram in the Great Lakes region.

So that 7,233 for the fish in the Alapaha is higher than the national average of 9,500. The desired healthy number is zero.

Our Suwannee Riverkeeper tests found PFAS in the WIthlacoochee River. The units are not directly comparable, and the Withlacoochee results were lower than for most U.S. rivers. But fish accumulate these and other contaminates over their lifespan, so even small concentrations of PFAS can build up before you eat the fish. Plus there are more likely sources of PFAS contamination near the Withlacoochee than the Alapaha.

The EWG article includes a link to a comment form to ask Congress to do something about PFAS.

Thanks to WWALS Science Committee Chair Dr. Tom Potter for finding this item.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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