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Health officials warn against eating fish from Lake Elmo, Lake Harriet

The warning comes amid concerns over contaminants.

Fish caught from Lake Elmo in the eastern metro area should not be eaten, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) advised on Thursday. 

Additionally, the MDH recommends that people avoid eating largemouth bass from Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. 

The warnings come on the heels of new findings that showed high levels of a contaminant known as perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS).

The contaminant has been on the decline in four other Twin Cities lakes – Bde Maka Ska (Calhoun), Johanna, Twin and Lake of the Isles – but remains elevated in Elmo and Harriet. 


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Studies suggest that PFOS can lead to higher cholesterol, reduced immune response, changes to thyroid hormone levels and changes to liver function. 

However, don't panic if you've had a fish from Elmo or a largemouth bass out of Harriet recently. 

"It’s important to note that our guidelines are based on long-term exposure, not the kind of short-term exposure you might have from a few meals," says MDH Assistant Commissioner Paul Allwood. 

The MDH has more tips on how to safely consume fish from Minnesota lakes, many of which have different levels of contaminants, especially women who are pregnant or planning to be pregnant. 

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