PFAS don’t break down easily in the environment and can bioaccumulate and biomagnify in some wildlife, including edible portions of fish. Studies have shown that PFOS is measured more often and at higher concentrations in fish tissue than other PFAS compounds. The half-life of PFOS in fish is shorter than in humans or the environment. Thus, concentrations in fish decline more rapidly following declines in surface water concentrations.
Fish consumption is a potential exposure pathway to PFAS, for both the general population and for people living near PFAS contaminated waters. In October 2021, the Pennsylvania Departments of Environmental Protection (DEP), Agriculture (PDA), and Health (DOH), along with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), announced a “Do Not Eat” advisory for all fish species caught in the Neshaminy Creek basin in Bucks and Montgomery counties due to “extremely high levels of the PFAS knows as perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS).” The advisory extends to all fish throughout the Neshaminy Creek basin, including Neshaminy Creek State Park and Tyler State Park.
In 2021, Pennsylvania adopted tiered meal advice for PFOS and began collecting and analyzing fish tissue samples for PFOS. Levels detected in fish tissue samples from the Neshaminy Creek watershed had levels over the 0.2 parts per million Do Not Eat advisory level. As a result of the “Do Not Eat” advisory, the commission will discontinue fish stocking in the Neshaminy Creek basin until further notice. The commission will work to identify nearby replacement waters to redirect trout previously stocked in the basin to provide continued recreational angling opportunities for stocked trout. Fishing is still allowed in the basin, but anglers are urged to practice catch-and-release practices. Additional information on Commonwealth fish advisories can be found here.