Recent data collected from fish in the Petenwell Flowage of the Wisconsin River is prompting the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Department of Health Services (DHS) to recommend new fish consumption advisories based on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in yellow perch and crappie.
In late July, the DNR received results from contaminant samples taken from Petenwell Flowage. Yellow perch and crappie, popular sport fish species, 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.
In light of these results, the DNR and Department of Health Services (DHS) are recommending a consumption advisory for yellow perch and crappie of one meal per week for everyone. The consumption advisory for white bass will remain at one meal per month for everyone.
PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals used for decades in numerous products, including non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers and stain-resistant sprays. These legacy contaminants have made their way into 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.
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 the DNR and DHS continue to learn more about the health risks from eating fish caught from this area and as more fish data become available.