NewsLocal News


Toxins found in fish in Lake Erie, highest in the country

Toxins found in fish in Lake Erie, highest in the country
Posted at 6:03 PM, Jan 25, 2023

BUFFALO, NY — A recent study by the Environmental Working Group found if you eat a toxin-filled fish, it is equal to drinking contaminated water for a month.

According to the study, fish found in Lake Erie have 11 parts per trillion of a toxin called PFAS. The levels are one of the highest in the country.

PFAS are compounds used in consumer products and industrial applications. PFAS compounds have been used for Teflon pans and Scotchguard. Landfills and even waste management can increase the risk of PFAS.

Low exposure to PFAS has been linked to cancer, thyroid disease, and weakened childhood immunities.

"It's definitely concerning that there are contamination levels, the highest of the great lakes region. This additional data is building the story that is not good for folks that live in the Great Lakes regions around PFAS," said Jill Jedlicka, Executive Director of the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper.

What makes the chemical so dangerous is that the toxin is unbreakable, and it stays in your system forever.

"These chemicals have been produced since the 1950s. The insidious nature of these chemicals is they build up over time. We are going to start measuring them more because they are reaching detectable measures," said Jedlicka.

Buffalo Niagara Water Keeper has tested all the waterways along the Lake Erie waterfront and 100 percent of the water have some level of PFAS.

But not all hope is lost. You can reduce the amount of freshwater fish and also catch younger fish, but Jedlicka says still be aware of what you are eating.

"This is a cause for concern, not panic, but we shouldn't have to press that panic button for us to act," said Jedlicka.

You can read the full report here.