Health officials release new fish consumption guidelines for lakes across the Michigan

(CBS DETROIT) – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released new consumption guidelines for rainbow smelt and carp found in several lakes in the state.

The new Eat Safe Fish guidelines recommend that individuals limit their consumption of rainbow smelt and carp found in seven different lakes due to the levels of chemicals found in the fish.

“The new rainbow smelt guidelines are based on elevated levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) found in the smelt,” according to health officials. “PFOS is a chemical in the family of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and can build up in fish and in people who eat these fish.”

Here are the new guidelines for consuming rainbow smelt:

  • Lake Huron: 6 servings per year.
  • Lake Michigan: 1 serving per month.
  • Portage Lake in Houghton County: 1 serving per month.
  • Gull Lake in Kalamazoo County: 2 servings per month.
  • Higgins Lake in Roscommon County: 4 servings per month.
  • MDHHS currently recommends that no one eat more than 1 serving per month of rainbow smelt from Lake Superior due to elevated levels of PFOS.

In addition to this, health officials released new guidelines for cap due to elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Similar to PFOs, PCBs take a long time to break down, and can build up in fish, and individuals who consume those fish.

Here are the new guidelines for consuming carp:

  • Thompson Lake in Livingston County: Do Not Eat
    This means everyone should avoid eating carp from Thompson Lake.
  • Earl Lake in Livingston County: Limited
    This means individuals under age 15, those with health problems such as cancer or diabetes and those who might have children in the next several years, are pregnant or are breastfeeding should avoid eating carp from Earl Lake. All other individuals should limit their consumption of carp from Earl Lake to one or two servings per year.

The 2023 Eat Safe Fish Guides are being updated for 2023. For more information and to view the 2022 guides, visit here, and click on the map.