Don't eat fish caught from these 2 bodies of water in Twin Cities metro, MDH says

Certain people shouldn't eat fish caught in two Twin Cities waterways, the Minnesota Department of Health said Monday.

In a news release, MDH, along with the Minnesota DNR and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, said new data show a mixture of pollutants including PFAS in fish caught in the Mississippi River from the Ford Dam in St. Paul to Hastings (known as Pool 2) and Lake Rebecca near Hastings. 

Those under age 15, who are pregnant or could become pregnant, and those who are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed should avoid eating fish from the aforementioned bodies of water. 

"The updated fish consumption guidance for Lake Rebecca and Pool 2 applies only to higher risk populations at this time," MDH Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff said in a statement. "It’s important to note that with PFAS, the risk is based on long-term exposure, not the kind of short-term exposure you might have from a few meals." 

Prior guidance for these bodies of water recommended not eating certain types of fish due to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and mercury, MDH said. Mercury and PCBs have been detected in fish in Minnesota for decades, but new data show the presence of "many types of PFAS," which prompted state officials to update the fish consumption guidance

PFAS are a family of human-made chemicals that have been used for decades and don't break down in the environment. PFAS can build up in a person's body, with children's immune systems most sensitive. Exposure to some PFAS is associated with certain types of cancer. 

"Even with the new recommendations, fishing can still be enjoyed at Lake Rebecca and Pool 2 on a catch-and-release basis," said DNR Regional Fisheries Manager Brian Nerbonne. "Here in the land of 10,000 lakes, there are plenty of places to fish, so people who do want to eat the fish they catch can find alternative water bodies. Our Fishing in the Neighborhood guide lists opportunities in the surrounding area where people can fish close to where they live."  

For those looking to catch a fish — and eat it, there are some alternative spots including the Lower St. Croix River, south of Stillwater; Lake Nokomis, Rogers Lake, Bald Eagle Lake and White Bear Lake. 

The Minnesota Legislature this year approved a bill that Gov. Tim Walz signed into law a ban on PFAS products Minnesotans use. The legislation bans all non-essential use of PFAS, as well as requires manufacturers selling products in the state to disclose if PFAS are present.