CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is issuing a fish consumption advisory for anyone that catches and consumes freshwater fish from 13 state parks operated by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

Recent tests in these 13 bodies of water found levels of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) above the recommended level for regular consumption. Elevated levels of PFAS were identified in fish from the following locations:

  • Ashland Reservoir in Ashland
  • Chicopee Reservoir in Chicopee
  • Lake Cochituate in Natick
  • Dennison Lake in Winchendon
  • Dunn Pond in Gardner
  • Fearing Pond in Plymouth
  • Houghtons Pond in Milton
  • Pearce Lake in Saugus
  • Pequot Pond in Westfield
  • Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester
  • Walden Pond in Concord
  • Wallum Lake in Douglas
  • Watsons Pond in Taunton

PFAS are man-made chemicals used in several consumer products worldwide. Exposure to certain types of PFAS can affect liver and kidney functions, cause a change in thyroid hormone and cholesterol levels, and also may affect the immune system. Exposure can cause developmental effects on fetuses during pregnancy.

“As this type of stuff happens, I think you’re going to see the course growing and growing for doing more to combat this,” said State Senator John Velis.

“So, stopping the sale of PFAs, getting it out of the environment, and allowing the water body to sort of naturally repair itself,” adds Marc Nascarella, Director of the Environmental Toxicology Program. “It is seen in so many places, it is unlikely we will be treating every single water body.”

The fish consumption advisory suggests anyone eating fish from these 13 state parks reduce the amount they are eating. Each body of water has different recommendations.

For the Chicopee Reservoir, it is recommended to not eat any native fish at this time. For the Pequot Pond in Westfield, it is recommended to only eat one fish per two months. This advisory is for native game fish and does not apply to stocked trout due to the lowered amount of time they spend in the water.

You can check the state’s Freshwater Fish Consumption Advisory Lookup Table for the full consumption advisory at each location.

The DPH also sampled surface water at these locations and did not find levels of PFAS that were unsafe for swimming or other recreational activities.