The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has issued a "do not eat" advisory for fish taken from the 10 Mile/Lange/Revere canals in St. Clair Shores. Carp, largemouth bass, pumpkinseed, and black crappie samples were collected from the canal in 2010. Laboratory analysis of the samples strongly suggests that levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the fish are too high for people to safely eat.
MDCH has sent letters to homeowners along the 10 Mile/Lange/Revere canals and will install signs near publicly accessible areas of the canals to inform people of the advisory. Department representatives will brief the St. Clair Shores City Council on June 6. A public meeting is also being planned.
The MDCH plans to test additional fish samples from the canal and the south end of Lake St. Clair. However, based on the canal sampling, the MDCH is advising people not to eat carp or channel catfish from Lake St. Clair until more data are available. For other fish from Lake St. Clair, follow the Michigan Fish Advisory at www.michigan.gov/eatsafefish or call (800) 648-6942.
The Ten Mile Drain discharges to the 10 Mile/Lange/Revere canals. In 2001, PCBs were discovered in the sediments in the canals and the drain system. The EPA conducted an emergency clean-up in 2002, removing the contamination from the canals and drain. However, follow-up monitoring indicated continuing contamination. The drain was named a Superfund National Priorities Site in 2010. The EPA has taken a number of interim steps to control the PCB contamination and is conducting a comprehensive environmental investigation of the site.
PCBs are a group of toxic chemicals that were once widely used as industrial coolants, insulators and lubricants. PCBs are of concern because they concentrate in the environment and the food chain resulting in health hazards to humans, fish and wildlife. Because of these dangers, the United States banned the manufacture of new PCBs in 1976 and PCBs still in use are strictly regulated.