“The Alabama Department of Public Health last week issued its annual fish consumption advisories. In addition to a seven-mile stretch of Wheeler Reservoir, advisories were issued for parts of Bakers Creek and Flint Creek in Morgan County, Round Island and Limestone creeks in Limestone County and Big Nance Creek in Lawrence County.

While only largemouth bass are listed on the advisory for Wheeler Reservoir, the Department of Public Health notes ‘it is prudent to assume that similar species with similar feeding habits should be consumed with caution.’ The advisory recommends a limit of one meal per month, but the department advised in a statement that ‘women of reproductive age and children less than 15 years old’ should avoid eating any fish subject to the advisory.

Most of the fish advisories locally were triggered by high levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), a chemical that for years was used at several local industries. Its most common application in Decatur was for non-stick products. It also is used in firefighting foams.

Literature published recently by the Environmental Protection Agency, in connection with its recommended limits on consumption of PFOS and related chemicals, underlined numerous studies suggesting serious health effects. Studies on animals and human populations exposed to the chemicals showed exposure above certain levels may cause a host of problems, including testicular and kidney cancer, as well as liver damage, immune system effects, thyroid effects and cholesterol changes…

Riverkeeper is suing 3M Co. and its subsidiary Dyneon LLC, along with Daikin America, BFI Waste Systems of Alabama, and the city of Decatur, seeking a court order that they clean up contamination in the river from PFOS and closely related chemicals. Whiteside said the case is in mediation. A trial is scheduled March 4, 2019…

‘You’ve got people that depend on these waters for protein. They go fishing and add it to their diet,’ Mixon said. ‘We have people in Courtland who know the river is bad, but they depend on the fish to eat. They know it’s not a good idea, but they say it’s better than going hungry.’

Wheeler Reservoir is the source of drinking water for Decatur Utilities and the West Morgan-East Lawrence Water Authority.”

Read the full article by Eric Fleischauer