Map of King County lakes (Courtesy of DOH)

Map of King County lakes (Courtesy of DOH)

Fish consumption advisory issued for several King County lakes

Traces of dangerous “forever chemicals” found in Lake Washington, Lake Meridian and Lake Sammamish

The Washington State Department of Health has issued a fish consumption advisory for Lake Washington, Lake Meridian (in Kent), and Lake Sammamish after finding perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, in several types of fish.

PFOS comes from a family of chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, sometimes called “forever chemicals” in the news.

According to the Department of Health, There is strong evidence from animal studies and growing evidence from human studies that chemicals in the PFAS family, like PFOS, can harm human health. For people, having PFAS chemicals in your body could:

Interfere with your immune system and make some vaccinations less effective.

Increase your risk for: kidney cancer, a lower birth weight for your baby, and/or high cholesterol.

New human studies show PFAS chemicals may also increase your risk for:

Other cancers (like testicular cancer),

Thyroid disease, and/or

High blood pressure during pregnancy and other reproductive issues.

According to health officials, your risk of developing health problems depends on how much, how often, and how long you were exposed. Age, lifestyle, and overall health can impact how your body responds to PFOS exposure. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to lower your exposure.

DOH recommends continuing to eat fish because it has many health benefits. Follow the updated guidelines to limit your PFOS exposure and safely eat fish caught in Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish, and Lake Meridian.

Lake Washington: Lake Washington has existing advisories for PCBs and mercury. DOH is now adding recommendations for PFOS.

Common Carp: Do not eat

Cutthroat Trout: Do not eat

Largemouth Bass: Do not eat

Smallmouth Bass: Do not eat

Northern Pikeminnow: Do not eat

Yellow Perch: Up to 1 meal* per month

Brown Bullhead: Up to 4 meals per month

Pumpkinseed: Healthy choice

Rainbow Trout: Healthy choice

Sockeye Salmon: Healthy choice

Lake Sammamish:

Largemouth Bass: Do not eat

Northern Pikeminnow: Do not eat

Yellow Perch: Up to 1 meal per month

Smallmouth Bass: Up to 2 meals per month

Brown Bullhead: Healthy choice

Lake Meridian:

Northern Pikeminnow: Do not eat

Smallmouth Bass: Do not eat

Yellow Perch: Up to 1 meal per month

Largemouth Bass: Up to 1 meal per month

Kokanee: Up to 2 meals per month

Brown Bullhead: Healthy choice

*One meal for an adult is equivalent to one 8-ounce uncooked fillet, or a piece of fish approximately the same size and thickness as your palm.

Fish Advisory signs at the lakes will be updated by the start of the Spring fishing season.

Currently, there are no PFOS advisories on saltwater fish or other lakes in Washington. The Department of Ecology (ECY) collected fish samples from Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish, and Lake Meridian first because those lakes were identified as higher concern for PFOS in previous sampling. ECY is monitoring for other types of PFAS chemicals, and the Department of Health anticipates receiving more data from ECY and other partners over the next several years.

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