AUGUSTA — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new freshwater fish consumption advisories on seven bodies of water, among them Unity Pond.

The new advisories come after testing of fish in these locations found levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) above Maine CDC’s recently updated recommended levels for regular consumption.  As noted below, the advisories recommend limiting or eliminating consumption of all fish or certain fish species from these bodies of water.

Elevated levels of the PFAS called perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) were detected in fish samples from the Police Athletic League Ponds and Fish Brook in Fairfield, Messalonskee Stream in Oakland and Waterville, Durepo Reservoir and Limestone Stream in Limestone, sections of Mousam River and Estes Pond in Sanford, Unity Pond in Unity, and the lower Presumpscot River in Westbrook.

The new fish consumption advisories apply to game fish caught in these bodies of water:

Fairfield: Police Athletic League Ponds and Fish Brook, including any tributaries, from the headwaters to the confluence with Messalonskee Stream. Do not eat any species of fish.

Waterville/Oakland: Messalonskee Stream from the Rice Rips Dam in Oakland to the Automatic Dam in Waterville: Consume no more than three meals per year of any fish species.

Smallmouth bass. Source: Maine IFW

Limestone: All of Durepo Pond and Limestone Stream from Durepo to the dam near Route 229 in Limestone. Consume no more than three meals per year of brook trout and do not eat smallmouth bass.

Sanford: The Mousam River from below the Number One Pond Dam to Outlet Dam on Estes Lake, including all of Estes Lake. Consume no more than three meals per year of any fish species.

Westbrook: The Presumpscot River from Saccarappa Falls in Westbrook to Presumpscot Falls in Falmouth. Consume no more than four meals per year of any fish species.

Unity: Unity Pond. Consume no more than six meals per year of black crappie and no more than 12 meals per year for all other fish species.

“As we continue to learn more about the health impacts of PFAS, these advisories reflect the best current science,” Nirav D. Shah, director of the Maine CDC, said in the May 5 announcement. “They focus on specific areas where higher levels of these chemicals have been detected.”

Judy Camuso, commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said, “Maine has over 6,000 lakes and ponds, and over 32,000 miles of rivers and streams. This limited advisory on seven water bodies is a responsible step in keeping anglers, their families, and friends healthy.

“Fishing is extremely popular, providing healthy outdoor recreation for roughly 360,000 people who are licensed to fish in Maine. We will continue to work with the CDC and other state agencies in order to keep Mainers, visitors, and our fish and wildlife populations healthy.”

Fishing in these seven bodies of water remains a safe activity, in accordance with the consumption advisories, along with other recreation such as swimming, wading, and boating, the announcement said.

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals found in a variety of consumer products throughout the world. Based on studies of laboratory animals and humans, exposure to certain PFAS chemicals has been associated with changes in liver and kidney function, changes in cholesterol levels, decreased immune response to vaccines in children, complications during pregnancy, and increased risk of kidney cancer and possibly testicular cancer.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection collected and tested fish from these bodies of water for PFAS because they are located where historical PFAS contamination has been found in groundwater, surface water and/or soils.

In addition to the bodies of water mentioned above, Maine CDC is reviewing data from several other bodies of water where elevated PFOS levels in fish tissue have been found. Testing for PFAS in those locations may not result in consumption advice more restrictive than the existing statewide advisory about the presence of mercury in fish or other specific water body advisories. Maine CDC recommends that anglers review all existing fish consumption advisories on Maine waters.

Maine CDC is consulting with DEP and IFW to develop plans for additional sampling of fish as part of the state’s ongoing investigation of PFAS.

For more information about the fish consumption advisories and PFAS, go to Maine CDC PFAS Fish Consumption Advisory FAQ, Maine CDC PFAS Technical Support Document and Maine Department of Environmental Protection PFAS page.