The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced it has lifted the “do not consume” advisory for fish caught in the Illinois River.
These changes are the result of continued sampling by the Fish Contaminant Monitoring Program. Fish consumption advisories are based primarily on protecting sensitive populations, including women of childbearing age, pregnant women, fetuses, nursing mothers, and children younger than 15 years of age. While there is no known immediate health hazard from eating contaminated fish from any Illinois water body, there are concerns about the effects of long-term, low-level exposure to chlordane, PCBs, and methylmercury in fish.
For the first time since the 1970s, there is no longer a “Do Not Eat” advisory for fish in the Illinois River due to declining PCB concentrations. The statewide methylmercury advisory for consumption of predatory fish species remains in effect for all Illinois waterbodies, as they eat other fish leading to a higher concentration of the hazardous element. Fish advisories can be found on the IDPH website where you can view an interactive fish advisory map to learn which Illinois waters have a special mercury advisory or a PCB or chlordane advisory, and find additional resources.