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PCBs and fish



HEALTH, ENVIRONMENT OFFICIALS URGE MICHIGAN TO REINSTATE CAUTION WARNINGS ON 
GREAT LAKES SALMON

Representatives of the U.S. EPA and the Agency for Toxic Substances and 
Disease Registry have urged Governor Engler to reinstate public health 
advisories on Great Lakes salmon in light of recently reported 
scientific research suggesting a link between PCB exposure and 
long-lasting deficits in a child's intellectual development.

Michigan unilaterally relaxed its warnings on eating large salmon this 
fishing season while several other states went in the other direction, 
recognizing the PCB issue.

"We are especially concerned that pregnant women, women of 
child-bearing age, and children under 15 years of age will be subjected 
to unnecessary risks to their health unless we honor their 
right-to-know about the risks of fish consumption in the Great 
Lakes...In sum, the epidemiological data support earlier findings that 
exposure before birth to extremely low levels of PCBs can result in 
long-lasting if not permanent deficits in a child's intellectual 
development.  In addition, PCBs are associated with risks of cancer and 
endocrine and immune systems toxicity," the officials wrote.

"We understand that the Great Lakes offer some of the best sport 
fishing in the country.  However, the protection of public health must 
be a priority.  Although PCB levels have declined significantly over 
the past few decades, the concentrations of PCBs in certain Great Lakes 
fish still present an unacceptable risk to human health and require 
limits on consumption."

The feds have asked to meet with Michigan environmental officials to 
discuss the issue in the near future.