The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality has issued a series of fish consumption advisories for the Tar Creek Area, which includes Grand Lake. This fish advisory does not mean all fish caught from these waters are unsafe to eat. Instead, it provides guidelines for people to make informed choices about their health and diet.
The advisory is the result of studies conducted in 2003 and 2007. The study showed increased levels of lead in fish collected in Tar Creek area mill ponds, the Spring River, the Neosho River, and Grand Lake. The consumption of fish containing elevated levels of lead is a concern because chronic exposure to lead can cause health problems. Lead is particularly harmful to the developing brains and nervous systems of young children. The recommendations are calculated for the protection of children, but adults should also follow the guidelines.
Lead is known to collect in the bones and organs of fish. All advisories are for fish preparations containing bones except one advisory for boneless fillets for non-game fish caught on the Spring River.
People who wish to reduce their exposure to lead should eat portions that do not contain bones or skin. Fish are an important part of a healthy diet; however, not all fish should be consumed in unlimited quantities by everyone. Residents living with the Tar Creek Area have different consumption advisory levels because they have a higher level of risk due to lead exposure from the Tar Creek Superfund Site. The following guidelines are formulated to provide information to both residents and non-residents of the Tar Creek Area.
For more information, contact the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality at (405) 702-1000.