PFAS and metals in West Lakes – recreational fishing Issued September 2020
EPA 1128/20: This report summarises fish and mussels results based on samples collected on 27 and 28 August 2020 in West Lakes.
The EPA collected fish and mussel samples in West Lakes on 27 and 28 August 2020. There were four lake locations where fish were collected by deploying gill nets overnight and five locations where mussels were collected by hand from the rocks at low tide (Figure 1) [PIRSA Exemption:
With regard to the three PFAS compounds with guidelines for human consumption, PFOS was detected in most samples although PFOA was not detected in any fish or mussel samples and PFHxS was only found in one fish sample.
Metals were detected in all samples, although they varied significantly. Cadmium was detected in whole mullet samples and in a mulloway liver sample, but at levels below an international (EU) standard. There is no Australian food standard for cadmium in fish. Cadmium was also detected in all the mussel samples, but it was below the Australian food standard level.
The average concentrations of the relevant PFAS and all the metals were less than the FSANZ trigger points for investigation. Fish fillets from West Lakes are considered safe for human consumption.
The average concentration of lead was above the trigger point for investigation and therefore SA Health recommend not eating whole fish or macerated fish caught from West Lakes.
One of the samples returned a concentration of lead above the trigger point for investigation and SA Health recommends not eating mussels caught from West Lakes.
The collection of mussels from West Lakes is currently banned, in response to Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) as per the PIRSA website5.
With regard to the fish and mussels collected from West Lakes on 27 and 28 August 2020 as determined by reference to Foods Standards Australia New Zealand and SA Health:
• PFAS in fish and mussels were at levels considered safe for human consumption.
• Fish fillets from West Lakes are considered safe for human consumption.
• The concentration of lead in whole fish and mussels was at levels that were considered unsafe for human consumption:
− The eating of whole fish is not recommended because of elevated lead levels.
− The collection of mussels from West lakes is currently banned (in response to POMS) and these results support the continuation of this ban, to manage risk to human health.