February 12, 2008
The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued an advisory warning people not to eat smallmouth buffalo and longnose gar from the Arroyo Colorado in Cameron and Hidalgo counties in South Texas.
The advisory was issued because of elevated levels of dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and mercury in the longnose gar and DDE and PCBs in the smallmouth buffalo.
It also applies to longnose gar and smallmouth buffalo from Llano Grande Lake and the Main Floodway upstream from the Port of Harlingen.
The DSHS advisory amends a June 2001 advisory that recommended limiting consumption of smallmouth buffalo.
DDE, a chemical resulting from the breakdown of DDT once used as a pesticide, may cause cancer.
Mercury is a naturally occurring element that gets into air and water from the weathering of the earth’s crust, from the burning of fossil fuels and from some industrial discharges and emissions. It can damage the brain and nervous system.
PCBs are industrial chemicals once used as coolants and lubricants in electrical transformers and capacitors. They were banned in 1979, but items containing them did not have to be replaced. PCBs degrade slowly in the environment. PCBs can cause cancer and reproductive, developmental and liver problems.
(News Media: For more information contact Doug McBride, DSHS Press Officer, 512-458-7524.)