Suffolk County health officials are advising individuals who consume American eel taken from south-shore tidal areas between the Carmans River near Yaphank, NY, and Quantuck Creek near Quogue, NY, of recent preliminary findings for elevated levels of Per-and Polyfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS) in this species. The preliminary results for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS, the most common type of PFAS found in fish) suggest that people may want to consider limiting their consumption of eels or avoiding consumption altogether from this area. This advice is based on preliminary, unvalidated sampling data, and could be amended in the future.
Average concentrations of PFOS in American eels varied in this area: 42 micrograms per kilogram in the Forge River, 43 in the Carmans River and 79 in Quantuck Creek. By comparison, concentrations in blue crab meat in this area averaged from 0.9 to 3.1 micrograms per kilogram, and average levels in freshwater fish species ranged from 6.1 to 29.4.
The current New York State Department of Health advisory for American eels from most Long Island marine waters is to eat up to four meals per month for men over 15 and women over 50, and up to one meal per month for children under 15 and women under 50, based on polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs. However, the recent findings suggest that people may want to consider more restrictive consumption of eels from this area.
For more information about PFAS and fish consumption advisories:
U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry PFAS Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tfacts200.pdf