PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is warning fishermen not to eat their catches from the Shenango River.
According to the DEP, fish species caught in the river have been found to have “extremely high levels of polychlorinated biphenyl,” or PCBs, which can cause serious adverse health effects, including cancer.
The advisory was already in effect for muskellunge, carp and channel catfish, but has now been extend to all species, like smallmouth and largemouth bass, bluegill and walleye.
In a press release, state Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director John Arway said: “PCBs are a class of chemical compounds that are hazardous to the health of fish and humans so anglers are strongly encouraged to avoid consuming any species of fish that are caught in this reach of the Shenango River. We are very concerned about the fate and effects of PCBs since they have an extremely long environmental half-life and will remain in the river for decades if not properly cleaned up and disposed of.”
Officials say the “Do Not Eat” Advisory extends to Mercer and Lawrence counties, from the Shenango Lake Dam to the mouth of the Shenango River in New Castle.
Experts say tissue samples taken from smallmouth bass found some levels of PCB to be more than 10 times the “No Consumption” Advisory level.
DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a statement: “The levels found in the tissue samples are extremely high, and DEP will be investigating to find the source of this contamination. DEP will work with EPA and others to determine the sources of this contamination and how to remediate it.”
For more information, visit the DEP’s website at this link.
The DEP is investigating the possible sources of PCB contamination.