Error in ministry test results on Timmins fish
Contamination testing from the Ontario environment ministry in 2019 showed that fish in Timmins’ Porcupine Lake had dangerously high levels of the metals chromium, nickel and manganese.
Now, a new report from the ministry reveals that those results were tainted by grinding equipment used to prepare the fish samples.
The report shows that after taking new samples late last year and preparing them with a knife method, the results were far less alarming.
Comparing the 2019 and 2021 results:
• Chromium levels were 10 to 100 times lower in the new results
• Nickel and manganese levels were two to 650 times lower in the new results
• Mercury levels showed no difference and still poses a health risk
The province said its grinding equipment was the source of the discrepancy, particularly the stainless steel blade that was contaminating the samples.
Consumption advisories at the time suggested people not eat any fish from Porcupine Lake.
“It is important to note that the advisories never posed a risk to anyone’s health, as they were overly protective,” said the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks in an email to CTV.
“Much less restrictive revised fish consumption advisories will be published online at Ontario.ca/fishguide when the Guide to Eating Ontario Fish is updated this year.”
According the ministry’s recent report, people will be able to eat more fish from Porcupine Lake than even prior to 2019.
Depending on the size of the fish, healthy people will be able to eat up to 32 white suckers per month, the report said. Those at risk can safely eat 16, it said.
The general population can eat up to eight walleye and eight northern pike, the report said, though people at risk still should not eat any of those fish.