A state fish advisory issued Thursday for Alondra Park Lake in Lawndale provides safe eating advice for black bass species, common carp and sunfish species.
The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment developed the recommendations based on the levels of mercury and Polychlorinated biphenyls — PCBs — found in fish caught from the lake, which is located about 10 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles.
“Many fish have nutrients that may reduce the risk of heart disease and are excellent sources of protein,” said Dr. Lauren Zeise, director of OEHHA. “By following our guidelines for fish caught in Alondra Park Lake, people can safely eat fish low in chemical contaminants and enjoy the well-known health benefits of fish consumption.”
When consuming fish from Alondra Park Lake, women ages 18-49 and children ages 1-17 may safely eat a maximum of five total servings per week of sunfish species, or one total serving per week of black bass species or carp.
Women ages 50 and older and men ages 18 and older may safely eat a maximum of seven total servings per week of sunfish species; two total servings per week of black bass species; or one total serving per week of common carp.
One serving is an 8-ounce fish fillet, measured prior to cooking, which is roughly the size and thickness of an adult’s hand. Children should eat smaller servings. For small fish species, several individual fish may make up a single serving.
A poster with the safe eating advice for Alondra Park Lake is available on OEHHA’s website in both English and Spanish. For fish species found in Alondra Park Lake that are not included in this advisory, OEHHA recommends following the statewide advisory for eating fish from California lakes and reservoirs without site-specific advice.
Mercury is a naturally occurring metal that is released into the environment from mining and burning coal. It accumulates in fish in the form of methylmercury, which can damage the brain and nervous system, especially in developing children and fetuses. Because of this, OEHHA provides a separate set of recommendations specifically for children up to age 17 and women of childbearing age — 18-49 years.
PCBs are a group of industrial chemicals. At high levels of exposure, they can cause health problems, including cancer. Although they were banned in the United States in the late 1970s, PCBs persist in the environment from spills, leaks or improper disposal. PCBs accumulate in the skin, fat and some internal organs of fish.
To reduce exposure from PCB-contaminated fish, OEHHA recommends eating only the skinless fillet — meat — portion of the fish.
Eating fish in amounts slightly greater than the advisory’s recommendations based on mercury or PCBs is not likely to cause health problems if it is done occasionally, such as eating fish caught during an annual vacation.
The Alondra Park Lake advisory joins more than 100 other OEHHA advisories that provide site-specific, health-based fish consumption advice for many of the places where people catch and eat fish in California, including lakes, rivers, bays, reservoirs, and the California coast. Advisories are available on OEHHA’s Fish Advisories web page.
OEHHA’s mission is to protect and enhance the health of Californians and the state’s environment through scientific evaluations that inform, support and guide regulatory and other actions.