PCB levels prompt warning about Lake Norman fish

  • Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 1:16 p.m.
    UPDATED: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 4:36 p.m.

Think twice before eating bass from Lake Norman.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has issued a fish consumption advisory for Lake Norman in Mecklenburg, Iredell, Lincoln and Catawba counties. Elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were found in striped bass that exceeded the state action level for PCBs of 0.05 mg/kg. Because previous studies have shown that largemouth bass in all waters of North Carolina have elevated levels of mercury, this advisory for Lake Norman includes largemouth bass as well as striped bass.


DHHS is recommending that pregnant women, nursing women, women who may become pregnant and children under age 15 should not eat any striped bass or largemouth bass from Lake Norman.

To guard against mercury exposure and potential PCB exposure, other people should not eat more than two meals a month of largemouth bass and one meal (6 ounces) a week of striped bass from Lake Norman.

PCBs can affect the neurological development of children, the reproductive system, the immune system, and may cause cancer.

Mercury presents an increased risk of adverse effects to the developing brain of unborn babies of pregnant women who eat fish contaminated with mercury. Young children may also be at risk of adverse neurological effects from eating fish contaminated with mercury.

The PCB and mercury contamination in fish does not present a known health risk for persons engaging in other recreational activities such as touching the water, wading, swimming, boating or handling the fish.

More information on health issues related to fish contaminants is available on the DHHS Division of Public Health website.

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