Fishermen watch their lines April 16 while fishing on China Lake in China. State health officials Thursday issued an advisory warning people about consuming fish from six freshwater locations, including China Lake. Officials warned people not to consume more than one meal per month of any fish species from China Lake.  Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

AUGUSTA — State health officials have expanded an advisory that warns people to limit their consumption of fish taken from several freshwater locations in Maine because of contamination by “forever chemicals.”

The Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention told the public last year to limit consumption of freshwater fish from seven bodies of water in Maine — and went so far as to say that no fish should be consumed at all if caught in two freshwater locations in Fairfield. In a statement released Thursday, the agency expanded that warning to include four new locations in central Maine, and expanded warnings for two locations in other parts of Maine: Sanford and Limestone.

The revised advisory now warns the public to eat no more than one meal a month of any fish from China Lake; no more than two meals a month of brook trout from Fifteenmile Stream in Albion; no more than two meals a month of brook trout from Halfmoon Stream in Thorndike; and no more than nine meals per year of smallmouth bass from the Kennebec River in Fairfield.

The agency also released stricter recommendations for two other locations included in last year’s advisory. It is now advising that people eat no more than one meal a month of largemouth bass from Number One Pond in Sanford, and no more than four meals a year of brook trout and not to consume any smallmouth bass from Durepo Pond and Limestone Stream in Limestone.

“These advisories are designed to support the health of Maine anglers, their families and friends, and everyone who enjoys eating freshwater fish from these bodies of water,” said Nancy Beardsley, acting director of the Maine CDC.

Fishing in these locations, while following the advisories, is still a safe activity, and other recreational activities are also safe to continue, health officials said.


The Maine Department of Environmental Protection collected and tested fish from the locations and chose these spots because they are located where PFAS contamination has been found in the groundwater, surface water or soil.

PFAS, or per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances, is a group of synthetic chemicals created in the 1940s and used in a wide variety of consumer products. The chemicals do not break down over time and can accumulate in the environment, animals and humans, and have been linked to health effects, including testicular and kidney cancer. The lingering nature of the compounds has led them to be referred to as forever chemicals.

The chemicals have been linked to the spreading of sludge or septage, which is a wastewater treatment byproduct and the remaining product after a septic system is pumped out.

An advisory issued by the Maine CDC in May 2022 directed people not to consume more than three meals in a year of fish taken from the portion of Messalonskee Stream from the Rice Rips Dam in Oakland to the Automatic Dam in Waterville, and to limit the consumption of black crappie and other fish taken from Unity Pond in Unity. Health officials also said not to eat any fish from the ponds owned by the Police Athletic League in Fairfield or at Fish Brook or its tributaries, also in Fairfield.

Heavy restrictions were additionally placed at the time on fish taken from waters in Sanford, Limestone and a portion of the Presumpscot River in Westbrook.

“This revised advisory … will help anglers make informed decisions when they choose to have a meal of freshwater fish,” said Judy Camuso, commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife.

The updated advisory comes just days after Inland Fisheries & Wildlife released an updated do-not-eat advisory for other wildlife in the Fairfield area. In 2021, the agency had warned not to eat deer from a 125-square-mile area in central Maine. This week officials revised that advisory to be for a significantly smaller area, but added that people should not eat turkey from the newly defined area.

State officials have found PFAS contamination in numerous locations across the state, and in other animal products, including milk and chicken eggs. And outside of the state, scientists have even found the chemicals in oysters.

Other states have also warned against consuming contaminated wildlife. New Hampshire and Wisconsin have issued do-not-eat advisories for deer livers, and Michigan advised people not to eat deer in one region or organs of deer, fish or other wild game statewide.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.