The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Department of Public Health have changed the way they evaluate the safety of fish caught in Iowa waters. Tom Newton of the Health Department says they’ve changed from an F-D-A to an E-P-A assessment to determine if fish caught in Iowa are safe to eat. He says there might be a little bit of a difference with more advisories issued, as he says the E-P-A approach has lower trigger levels for contaminants such as P-C-B’s and methyl mercury.

Newton says several factors go into issuing an advisory for fish — including the type of pollutant in the water. Newton says these aren’t general advisories for all lakes and streams, he says they’re specific to individual lakes and rivers.

Newton says neither the Department of Health or the D-N-R will keep track of the number of fish people catch when there’s an advisory. He says they’re providing the information so the public can make an informed choice as to whether they should limit their consumption of fish. Newton says they won’t tell people they can’t eat the fish, it’s just public education.

Newton says the fish from a majority of Iowa’s lakes, rivers and streams are just fine to eat. Newton says they encourage people to eat fish two times a week as he says fish have a lot of vitamins and minerals. He says fish have a lot of health benefits. Newton says you can find out more about the fish consumption guidelines at the D-N-R website or the Department of Health website