October 1, 2010
The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued an advisory warning
people not to consume any species of fish from Mountain Creek Lake in Grand
Prairie, Texas. The advisory was issued after laboratory testing of fish samples
found elevated levels of dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.
People should avoid eating any species of fish from Mountain Creek Lake until
further notice. Long-term consumption of dioxins and PCBs may cause cancer and
reproductive, immune system, developmental and liver problems.
According to DSHS standards, PCB levels in fish above 0.047 milligrams per
kilogram (mg/kg) may pose a risk to human health. PCB levels in the most recent
Mountain Creek Lake samples averaged 0.138 mg/kg and were as high as 0.949
mg/kg. Levels of dioxins in smallmouth buffalo averaged 2.548 picograms per gram
(pg/g) and where as high as 6.622 pg/g above the DSHS standard of 2.33 pg/g.
PCBs are industrial chemicals once used as coolants and lubricants in
electrical equipment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned PCBs in
1979, but items containing them did not have to be replaced. Dioxins are
byproducts of combustion and industrial activity. Dioxins and PCBs degrade
slowly in the environment. Elevated levels of PCBs and dioxins in fish do not
pose a health risk for people swimming or participating in other water
At the request of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, as a part of
its Total Maximum Daily Load 5-year follow-up program, DSHS collected samples
from Mountain Creek Lake to reevaluate toxicity levels in fish.
DSHS is lifting an aquatic life order that prohibited people from possessing
fish from Mountain Creek Lake. The fish consumption advisory still applies.
(News Media Contact: Christine Mann, DSHS Assistant
Press Officer, 512-458-7511)
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