Maine CDC Updates Advisories on Eating Freshwater Fish Due to PFAS Contamination

Adds four new waterbodies, expands three existing advisories

AUGUSTA — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) today issued updated and additional freshwater fish consumption advisories following ongoing PFAS testing of water bodies across the state.

Testing of fish in these locations found levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, above Maine CDC's recommended levels for regular consumption. Based on the results of those tests, the Maine CDC now recommends limiting consumption of all fish or certain fish from the seven waterbodies listed below. Three of the advisories are expansions of those issued last year and four bodies of water are new additions. With these updates and additions, a total of 16 waterbodies in Maine currently have a freshwater fish consumption advisory. All fish consumption advisories are listed on Maine CDC’s website.

Elevated levels of the PFAS called perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) were detected in fish tissue samples from McGrath Pond and Salmon Lake in Belgrade and Oakland, Aroostook River in Caribou, Kenduskeag Stream in Kenduskeag and Bangor, Kennebec River in Waterville, Limestone Stream in Fort Fairfield, Annabessacook Lake in Monmouth and Winthrop, and Sandy and Halfmoon Streams in Unity and Thorndike. The new fish consumption advisories, listed below, apply to game fish caught in these waterbodies:

Area Waterbody Consumption Advisory
Belgrade and Oakland All of McGrath Pond and Salmon Lake. Consume no more than 1 meal per month of any fish species.
Caribou Aroostook River from the Aroostook River Reservoir to Haley Island in Fort Fairfield. Consume no more than 2 meals per month of brook trout.
Corinth to Bangor Kenduskeag Stream from the Robyville covered bridge to the Penobscot River. Consume no more than 1 meal per month of smallmouth bass.
Fairfield to Sidney Kennebec River from the Carrabassett Stream inlet just north of Route 23 to the Town Farm Brook inlet in Sidney. Consume no more than 9 meals per year of smallmouth bass and no more than 5 meals per year of black crappie.
Limestone to Fort Fairfield All of Durepo Pond and Limestone Stream. Consume no more than 4 meals per year of brook trout and do not eat smallmouth bass.
Monmouth and Winthrop All of Annabessacook Lake. Consume no more than 10 meals per year of black crappie.
Unity and Thorndike Halfmoon Stream from the Shikles Road in Thorndike to Sandy Stream, and Sandy Stream from the Stevens Road in Unity to Unity Pond. Consume no more than 5 meals per year of smallmouth bass. For Halfmoon Stream, consume no more than 2 meals per month of brook trout.
* Bolded entries indicate extensions of advisories issued in 2022 and/or 2023.

“These updates and expansions of Maine's fish consumption advisories are part of our broader work to limit Maine people's exposure to PFAS," said Dr. Puthiery Va, Director of the Maine CDC. “They are designed to protect the health of Maine anglers, their families and friends, and everyone who enjoys eating freshwater fish from these bodies of water.”

“Maine has over 32,000 miles of rivers and streams, and 6,000 lakes and ponds,” said Judy Camuso, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). “This revised advisory provides Maine’s 360,000 anglers the information they need when choosing to have a meal of freshwater fish.”

Fishing in these specific waterbodies remains a safe activity, in accordance with the consumption advisories, along with other recreational activities such as swimming, wading, and boating. The Maine CDC recommends that anglers review all existing fish consumption advisories for Maine waters.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) collected and tested fish from these waterbodies for PFAS because they are located where historical PFAS contamination has been found in groundwater, surface water, and/or soils. The testing this year included testing of new waterbodies and expanded testing of waterbodies to better inform consumption advisories. The Maine CDC continually consults with Maine DEP and MDIFW to develop plans for additional sampling of fish as part of the State’s ongoing investigation of PFAS.

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals found in a variety of consumer products throughout the world. Based on a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, exposure to certain PFAS chemicals has been associated with changes in liver and kidney function, changes in cholesterol levels, decreased immune response to vaccines in children, complications during pregnancy, increased risk of kidney cancer and possibly testicular cancer.

Three months after taking office in 2019, Governor Janet Mills signed an Executive Order creating a Governor’s Task Force to review the prevalence of PFAS in Maine and to put forward a plan to address it. That Task Force has led to aggressive actions to address PFAS contamination in Maine, including:

  • implementing one of the nation’s earliest and strictest standards for PFAS in drinking water;
  • securing tens of millions more dollars in State funding to remediate PFAS contamination, including testing and remediation efforts through drinking water treatment systems;
  • establishing screening levels for PFAS in soil, fish and game, milk, and beef;
  • signing a first-in-the-nation law prohibiting the spreading of sludge, a widespread source of PFAS;
  • establishing a $60 million PFAS Fund to support farmers whose land and/or water are contaminated with PFAS;
  • dedicating funds to assess the impact of PFAS on Maine’s fish and wildlife, allowing for the testing of hundreds of deer, turkeys and fish that documented how PFAS in the environment impacts Maine’s fish and wildlife;
  • expanding the statute of limitations for Maine citizens to file claims for PFAS contamination; and
  • supporting Attorney General Aaron Frey’s lawsuit against PFAS manufacturers.

In total, the Mills Administration and the Legislature have dedicated more than $100 million over the past several years to address PFAS.

For more information about the fish consumption advisories and PFAS, please go to: