Fishing season is in full swing and angers throughout Minnesota are heading out whenever their schedule allows. While fishing is a great time, eating fish can also be great for you.

According to health experts, fish provide a good source of protein and vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin), they are rich in calcium and phosphorus, and are a great source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium.

Also, two omega-3 fatty acids in fish are EPA and DHA, which our bodies can't produce on their own so we must get them through what we eat. That is why health experts recommend that you include fish in your diet.

The health benefits of eating omega-3 fatty acids are well-documented. Benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • They help maintain a healthy heart by lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of sudden death, heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms, and strokes.
  • They aid healthy brain function and fetal development of vision and nerves during pregnancy.
  • They may decrease the risk of depression, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and diabetes.
  • They may prevent inflammation and reduce the risk of arthritis.
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While the health benefits of eating omega-3 fatty acids are well documented, there are times when fish from certain bodies of water become unhealthy to consume due to PFAS.

How PFAS Get Into Our Environment

PFAS stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which contain a strong carbon-fluorine bond that allows them to accumulate over time in the environment and the bodies of animals and people, posing health risks. PFAS are commonly called "forever chemicals" or  “everywhere chemicals", and they've become very common in the products we use every day.

PFAS are generated through manufacturing processes, waste storage, and treatment sites, which release them into the air, soil, and water.

The health impacts health officials are most concerned about for people from exposure to PFAS include effects on the immune system such as decreased vaccination response, changes in liver function such as higher cholesterol and elevated liver enzymes, and lower birth weight. Lifetime exposure to has also been associated with kidney cancer.

Safe-Eating Guidelines Updated On Several Minnesota Waterbodies Due To PFAS

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recently issued updated fish consumption guidance for Mississippi River Pools 2, 3, and 4 and all the Minnesota lakes and backwaters.

This area includes the Ford Dam Parkway in Saint Paul to Wabasha, including Lake Rebecca. Cities associated with these pools include Saint Paul, Saint Paul Park, Inver Grove Heights, Hastings, Red Wing, Lake City, and Wabasha.

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The health department notes this updated fish consumption guidance uses more stringent waterbody-specific guidelines and data for PFAS in fish and provides additional protections for fish consumers. While this guidance primarily looks at PFAS data, it is protective against other contaminants such as mercury and PCBs.

The following guidance is in place for all fish species in Mississippi River Pools 2-4 and all of the Minnesota lakes and backwaters:

  • MDH recommends not eating fish obtained from Mississippi River Pools 2, 3, and 4 for sensitive populations, including people who are or may become pregnant, people who are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed, and children under age 15.
  • MDH recommends limiting fish consumption from Mississippi River Pools 2, 3, and 4 to one serving a month for the general population of people not planning to become pregnant, men and boys over age 15.

Click the button above for complete details on the updated fish consumption guidance and more information about Mississippi River Pools 2, 3, and 4.

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