In 2009 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a multi-year statistically-based National Lake Fish Tissue Study. Fish were collected and tested from 500 lakes and reservoirs selected randomly from the estimated 147,000 target lakes and reservoirs in the lower 48 states. Analysis of fish samples included 268 persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals, most notably mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dioxins and furans.
“Mercury and PCBs were detected in every fish sample from all 500 lakes and reservoirs.” PCB levels exceeded 0.12 ppb at 16.8% of the sites, representing a probable 12,886 lakes with unsafe levels of PCBs.
The national fish advisory list grows each year as additional waters are tested. In 2010 there were 1,084 advisories for PCBs in the U. S. As of 2010, four states had statewide freshwater (river and/or lake) advisories for PCBs, and nine states had PCB advisories for all of their coastal marine waters.
North Carolina currently has eight advisories for PCBs.
For further information:
National Lake Fish Tissue Study website: http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/fishstudies/lakefishtissue_...
Final Report (PDF) (242 pp, 7.61MB)
Fish consumption Advisories in North Carolina: http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/fish/