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Kentucky Agencies Reissue Ohio Fish Consumption Advisories

Armen Hareyan's picture

Kentucky Departments of Public Health reissued fish consumption advisories for the Ohio River bordering Kentucky.

Flathead catfish in the river's lower reach have now been added to the advisory list, which otherwise remains unchanged. These advisories are intended to inform the public about the possible risks of eating unrestricted amounts of some fish from the Ohio River.

People who frequently eat fish, women of childbearing age and children are particularly susceptible to contaminants that build up in the body (such as PCBs and mercury). For this reason these individuals should follow the special population advisory.

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"It's great to see that the levels of some contaminants have decreased to the point that many kinds of fish are now safer to eat at the advised frequency," said William D. Hacker, M.D., Health and Family Services' acting undersecretary for health and public health commissioner. "It appears as though the combined work of many is paying off, and we appear to be turning the corner and improving the condition of our river."

The monitoring of tissue residue levels in fish from the Ohio River is an ongoing program of the state agencies and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO).

"Fish are fun to catch, and are a nutritious, low-fat food," said Benjy Kinman, director of fisheries with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. "Our role is to educate the public about recommended amounts of certain fish they should consume so everyone can make informed decisions."

To better protect the public, state scientists have developed a specific protocol to determine safety levels and risk for contaminants. States that border the commonwealth and the Ohio River have adopted these protocols as well.

Following are consumption precautions for various tested species in three areas (upper, middle and lower) of the Ohio River bordering Kentucky. If a species is not listed, this does not mean that the fish species has no level of risk to consumers. Rather, it means there is no data available for that particular species.