Connecticut One of Seven East Coast States Issuing Limits
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
June 3, 2009 Contact: William Gerrish
Hartford - The Connecticut Department of Public Health, in coordination with similar actions in six other East Coast states, updated its fish consumption advisory for two popular marine species commonly caught in Long Island Sound.
According to state health officials, large bluefish (over 25 inches) and striped bass contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at levels of potential concern to the general public. This concern is especially true for pregnant women and young children. PCBs can affect the endocrine system and brain development, and are carcinogenic in animal studies.
Health officials advised that striped bass and large bluefish caught in Long Island Sound should not be eaten by those in the high risk group: pregnant women, women of childbearing age, nursing mothers and children under the age of 6. The remainder of the general population should eat no more than one meal per month.
“Fortunately there are many other marine and freshwater species that consumers can eat more frequently and that have health benefits,” stated DPH Commissioner Dr. J. Robert Galvin. In Long Island Sound, commonly eaten fish low in PCBs and other contaminants include blackfish, winter flounder, fluke, and scaup (porgies).
The department’s updated advisory stems from a multi-state report finalized in 2008, which documented the PCB content of striped bass and bluefish from Maine to Georgia. The report also shows that these fish are not particularly good sources of beneficial fish oils. Compared to other fish, striped bass and bluefish have lower amounts of omega-3 fatty acids relative to the amount of PCBs they contain.
Similar advice is being issued by six other East Coast states today: Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware. These states are all instructing pregnant women and young children to not eat striped bass and large bluefish, and are advising the general public to moderate consumption. These states will continue to monitor PCB levels in coastal marine species and will modify the consumption advisory as needed in the future.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.