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New Jersey Updates Fish Consumption Advisories for Lower Delaware River Watershed, Expands Testing to Include PFAS

New Jersey Updates Fish Consumption Advisories for Lower Delaware River Watershed, Expands Testing to Include PFAS | Newtown News of Interest |

The Department of Environmental Protection, in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Health, has updated recreational fish advisories for tributaries, lakes and ponds in the lower Delaware River watershed as part of the state’s ongoing fish-safety monitoring program.


The DEP has also expanded testing of fish in selected water bodies in this and other regions of the state to include several chemicals of emerging concern known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS. These analyses have resulted in the DEP’s first consumption advisories for these chemicals.


“Before going fishing, anglers should take a few minutes to review advisories in place for their favorite fishing spots so they can make good decisions about eating the fish they catch,” said DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe.

The DEP tested 11 fish species in 14 water bodies in Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean and Salem counties for PCBs, mercury and pesticides. The testing resulted in less restrictive advisories for 36 species than had been in place, while 24 saw no change. Ten advisories are now more restrictive.

Data also was collected for species not tested in previous years as well as at one new sample location. The new data resulted in 30 new consumption advisories for the lower Delaware River watershed region.


Due to growing concerns over the presence of PFAS in the environment, the DEP also sampled water, sediment and fish tissue samples from a limited number of water bodies in the lower Delaware River watershed and other regions of the state.

Water bodies were selected based on their proximity to potential sources of PFAS and their likelihood of being used for recreational and fishing purposes. PFAS were detected at varying levels and combinations in all of the water bodies tested.


PFAS – which include compounds more commonly known as PFOA, PFOS and PFNA – were once widely used in a variety of applications, including non-stick cookware, stain-resistant clothing and fabrics, food packaging, and in firefighting foams. These chemicals are persistent in the environment and can accumulate in people exposed to them.

johnmacknewtown's curator insight, July 25, 2018 6:01 AM

According to emails obtained through open records requests, Lora Werner, regional director of the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, emailed state officials about the concern in October 2016. That agency is a division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a primary federal agency tasked with assessing health impacts from toxic exposures.


Following public meetings in Horsham, an area of extensive PFAS contamination from a pair of nearby military bases, Werner noted, “There is a question about consuming fish from local creeks in the Warminster/Willow Grove area.”


Read: "New Jersey releases fish advisories for PFAS"

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