DSHS issues fish consumption advisory for Sabine Lake
Texas Department of State Health Services has issued an advisory
limiting the consumption of gafftopsail catfish from Texas waters of
Sabine Lake in Jefferson and Orange counties. DSHS advises adults eat no
more than three eight-ounce portions of gafftopsail catfish per month
from the affected waters. Additionally, children under 12, women who are
or may become pregnant and nursing mothers should consume no more than
one four-ounce portion per month.
The advisory also covers contiguous Texas waters, including Sabine Pass and portions of the Sabine and Neches rivers.
testing showed levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, that
exceed DSHS standards in samples of gafftopsail catfish collected from
the lake. DSHS tested tissue samples from eight species of fish as part
of its evaluation. DSHS did not find elevated levels of contaminants in
samples of alligator gar, black and red drum, sand trout, southern
flounder, spotted seatrout or striped bass.
industrial chemicals once used as coolants and lubricants in electrical
equipment and for other industrial purposes. The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency banned PCBs in 1979, but equipment containing PCBs did
not have to be replaced. PCBs break down very slowly in the environment
and can accumulate in animals such as fish. Long-term consumption of
PCBs may cause cancer as well as reproductive, immune system,
developmental and liver problems in humans.
Elevated levels of PCBs in fish do not pose a health risk for people participating in recreational activities on Sabine Lake.