Detroit residents encouraged to learn about safe fish consumption levels

DETROIT, MI – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) conducted an Urban Fishing Study to measure chemical contaminants in people who eat fish caught from the Detroit River.

Study results showed participants had higher mercury and PCB levels than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) study participants.

Mercury levels were two and a half times higher for participants ages 20 and older, PCB levels were about two times higher for participants ages 18-59, and about four times higher for ages 60 and older than NHANES participants. To discuss the findings of the study and the Eat Safe Fish guidelines with Detroit residents, MDHHS is hosting an Eat Safe Fish in Detroit Community Meeting on Monday, March 20.The Urban Fishing Study included participants who ate at least two meals of fish per month from the Detroit River, answered a questionnaire, and provided blood and urine samples. The sampleswere analyzed for chemicals that are found in fish.

MDHHS provides the Eat Safe Fish guidelines to inform residents on healthy fish consumption. Fish are part of a healthy diet as they are high in protein and omega-3 oils, and low in fat. The Eat Safe Fishguidelines help residents avoid hazardous chemicals that build up in fish and can build up in people who often eat those fish. Some groups are at higher risk of harm from the chemicals in fish including children, breastfed babies, women and men of reproductive age, and individuals with chronic health issues such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, or cancer.

“The Eat Safe Fish guidelines are essentially easy to use nutrition labels for chemicals in locally-caught fish that help families consume fish safely,” said Nick Lyon, director at MDHHS. “This meeting is an opportunity for Detroit residents to learn more about safe fish consumption levels for themselves and their families.”

The meeting will be held on Monday, March 20 at the MSU Detroit Center, located at 3408 Woodward Ave. in Detroit at 2 p.m. with a one hour presentation followed by a question and answer session beginning at 3 p.m. The meeting is open to all residents and free to attend. Free parking is available in the Michigan State University parking lot on Stimson Street between Woodward and Cass Avenues. Street parking is also available.

MDHHS issues fish consumption guidelines that are protective of the public’s health based on analysis of fish filets for common contaminants such as mercury and PCBs. MDHHS also analyzes fish filets for dioxins, selenium, toxaphene, and PFOS in certain areas of the state. For more information about the Eat Safe Fish guidelines, visit or call 517-335-8350.