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Health officials to address fish consumption warnings for Madison's PFAS-contaminated waters

Health officials to address fish consumption warnings for Madison's PFAS-contaminated waters

PFAS sign on Starkweather Creek

Signs installed in December by Public Health Madison & Dane County caution against consuming water from Starkweather Creek, which is contaminated with hazardous chemicals known as PFAS. Officials have yet to post notice of a health advisory issued earlier this month for consumption of fish from the creek.

Local health officials are planning public meetings to help Madison residents understand the risks of eating fish from Lake Monona and Starkweather Creek.

The Department of Natural Resources last week issued a health advisory after fish from both water bodies were found to contain hazardous chemicals known as PFAS.

According to the new guidelines, people should eat certain fish, including largemouth bass, walleye, perch and carp, no more than once a month. Bluegill are considered safe to eat once per week.

One substance, PFOS, was found at levels up to 180 parts per billion in largemouth bass and up to 48 ppb in bluegill.

The advisories are based on guidelines from the Great Lake Consortium that recommend against eating any fish with PFOS concentrations of more than 200 ppb, although the state of New Jersey has recommended a limit of 17 ppb for children and women of childbearing age.

Public Health Madison & Dane County has scheduled meetings for Feb. 8 & 12 at the East Madison Community Center, 8 Straubel Court, to answer questions and provide more information about the advisories as well as the risks of coming into contact with contaminated water or foam.

Spanish and Hmong interpreters will be available at both meetings, and one will be recorded.

PHMCD spokeswoman Sarah Mattes said local health officials are still working with the DNR to determine wording for warning signs that the agency plans to post along the creek and at along the lakeshore.

The agency posted signs along Starkweather Creek in December warning people to avoid drinking the water, which the DNR reported in October had high concentrations of PFAS.

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