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E-M:/ Sierra Club Serves Toxic Fish to Demonstrate Great Lakes Pol

Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org

     This "Toxic Buffet" hits home here in Michigan in particular as we 
     have more coastline on the Great Lakes than any other state, and 
     border 4 of the 5 Great Lakes.  AW
     January 31, 2000           Jon Schneider, (202) 675-2383
                                Eric Uram, (888) 920-9844 pgr
     Sierra Club Serves Toxic Fish to Demonstrate Great Lakes Pollution 
     Says Great Lakes is "Still Toxic After All These Years"
     Washington, DC-- The Sierra Club today held a toxic fish buffet to 
     urge for effective clean-up plans for the Great Lakes.  Ten years 
     after the Sierra Club's last toxic buffet, little has changed. Toxic 
     hot spots around the Great Lakes still contain enough pollution to 
     render most local fish too dangerous to eat.
     "It is a tragedy that the Great Lakes are still toxic after all these 
     years," said Emily Green, Director of the Sierra Club's Great Lakes 
     Program, while standing behind appetizing yet toxic plates of poached, 
     smoked, and fillets of yellow perch, walleye, and rock bass. "But even 
     worse is the fact that our children's health is at risk simply from 
     eating these dishes for dinner."
     Beside each of the five plates of fish - one fish from each of the Great 
     Lakes - was a list of toxic chemicals that are commonly found in fish 
     caught in the Lakes. Dangerous amounts of mercury, PCB's and other toxic 
     contaminants still pour silently into the lakes from nearby industries 
     and abandoned dumping spots. Fish that swim in this toxic soup are now 
     contaminated, and pose a particularly insidious threat to the health of 
     pregnant women, children and subsistence fishermen. 
     Cancer risks from these contaminants are 4,500 times above EPA's 
     minimum "acceptable" level for some populations. Fish consumption 
     advisories have been posted around all of the lakes, and the toxins 
     are causing developmental problems and learning disabilities in 
     "We are pleased to see the Clinton Administration addressing this 
     problem, but we still have a long way to go to protect our children's 
     health," Green stated, referring to a multi-million dollar plan that 
     the Environmental Protection Agency is negotiating. She then proceeded 
     to lay out a plan put together by a coalition of groups including the 
     Sierra Club and Great Lakes United that would focus on a complete 
     clean-up of one or two key sites first. 
     "This plan will allow us to develop the expertise to clean up these 
     toxic hot spots completely. A model can then be made for other Great 
     Lakes communities to follow so that their children can safely swim in 
     the lakes, drink the water, and eat their favorite fish dinner," said 
     Also speaking at the event were Dr. Theo Colburn, author of Our Stolen 
     Future, Margaret Wooster of Great Lakes United, and Charlotte Caldwell 
     of the Great Lakes Indigenous Environmental Network who related how 
     her community was forced to change its way of life due to the 
     pollution. Dr. Colburn described a few key scientific studies that 
     show the harmful effects this pollution has to the Great Lakes 
     population, including one that showed how children born to mothers who 
     eat Great Lakes fish are as much as two years behind in reading and 
     "It's time to end the delay, and clean up the Great Lakes today," 
     concluded Green.
     #  #  #

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