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As if the oil spill that appeared in the Potomac last week wasn’t enough to disincline you (or the one last October), the District Department of Energy & Environment advises you to avoid eating certain types of fish in D.C.’s waters.
DOEE’s 2016 Fish Consumption Advisory, out today, recommends that residents not consume eel, carp, or striped bass caught in the Potomac and Anacostia rivers “because they are most contaminated by chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs),” which over time can increase one’s risk of cancer as well as potentially lead to negative developmental effects among children. But sunfishes, catfish, and perch are safe to eat in limited portions.
“By following the recommended advisories for eating fish, you can reduce your risk of adverse health effects from exposure to various contaminants and still enjoy the benefits of eating fish,” the advisory explains. “The nutritional and cardiovascular or other health benefits of eating fish are well established, and these advisories can help people make better choices for safe consumption.”
Though the levels of contaminants in some of D.C.’s fish have notably declined since 1980, when DOEE first began tracking them, Director Tommy Wells says the District still must strive to strengthen the health of its waterways.
Per DOEE, people can now safely eat catfish from local rivers in modest amounts, but were once “not to consume.”
Photo by Darrow Montgomery; screenshot via DOEE advisory