In this area every spring nets are often brought out to Minnesota and Wisconsin Point as rainbow smelt are spawning up rivers and also sand beaches.  But the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has issued a new fish consumption advisory for Lake Superior rainbow smelt after they found high levels of a suspected carcinogen in the fish. They are recommending people eat no more than one meal per month of the smelt.


According to the Superior Telegram the carcinogen is PFSA's:

PFAS include some 5,000 so-called "forever chemicals" used for decades in numerous products, including nonstick cookware, fast-food wrappers, stain-resistant sprays and firefighting foam. The chemicals, which don’t break down over time, have been found in groundwater and surface water near factories, airports and military bases nationwide, including at the Duluth Air National Guard base and in the Twin Cities near a 3M manufacturing plant. The DNR warning is the first for humans in the Lake Superior region for PFAS and, the DNR said, the first PFAS-based fish consumption advisory for the Great Lakes.

Some of the side effects of ingesting these carcinogens have caused these reactions in lab animals such as  reproductive and developmental issues, liver and kidney damage and sometimes tumors in some of the animals. The most consistent side effect is high cholesterol levels.

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As we have seen in the past these tests are constantly monitored because of the effects of pollutants that get into our lakes and streams. This study hits home to show how we all need to be accountable to try and keep these chemicals from getting into our water supplies. I have never gone on a smelt run before but I do know that it is a pretty popular event each Spring in this area. Maybe tests closer to smelt season will show a decrease in the numbers, but as of now this is the warning that is in place if you choose to eat rainbow smelt out of Lake Superior.

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