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Fish Consumption Advisory Issued For Petenwell Flowage

Posted 8/18/2021 by krauter-egge@co.wood.wi.us

CONTACT: Susan Kunferman, Wood County Health Department Director/Health Officer
(715) 421-8911

Fish Consumption Advisory Issued For Petenwell Flowage

Wisconsin Rapids, WI – Based on recent data collected from fish in the Petenwell Flowage of the Wisconsin River, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Department of Health Services (DHS) are recommending a consumption advisory for yellow perch and crappie of one meal per week for everyone. A consumption advisory is already in place for white bass and will remain at one meal per month. Petenwell Lake is a 23,173 acre lake located in Wood, Adams, and Juneau Counties.

In late July, the DNR received results from contaminant samples taken from Petenwell Flowage. Yellow perch and crappie were found with high levels of the PFAS compound, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). PFOS levels also triggered a consumption advisory for white bass, but an advisory for white bass at that level is already in place based on polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination. Consumption of contaminated food is one of the primary pathways of PFAS exposure in humans.

PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals that are used in many products including non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers and stain-resistant sprays. These chemicals contaminate the environment in various ways, including spills of PFAS-containing materials, discharges of PFAS-containing wastewater from treatment plants and certain types of firefighting foams.

There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse health outcomes in humans including certain types of cancers, developmental delays, thyroid and heart issues, infertility and low birth weight. Following these advisories will help protect you from excess PFOS exposure and other contaminants found in fish, including mercury and PCBs. The advisories could change in the future as more fish data become available and the DNR and DHS continue to learn more about the health risks from eating fish caught from Petenwell Flowage.

Please refer to the statewide safe-eating guidelines or the DNR’s fish consumption webpage for consumption advice for other inland fish species based on PCBs or mercury. For more information on PFAS, view the DNR’s PFAS infographic.