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PCBs at Danger Levels in Wash., Wisc. Waters

Friday, September 16, 2005
Toxic PCBs have been found at 140 times the level that requires cleanup at a South Seattle site that EPA declared clean more than five years ago. Fish in the nearby Duwamish River are the most PCB-laden in the state, and high levels have been found in salmon and killer whales in the Puget Sound. Port officials plan to delay further cleanup because of the test results, and expand their efforts beyond the original two-acre area.

And in the Milwaukee River in Wisconsin, PCB concentrations are high enough to harm humans and wildlife in stretches of the river near Lincoln Park where people swim, waterski and fish. An official says that Milwaukee has been aware of the hazard for a decade, but only now is the information "specific" enough to warrant a funding request for cleanup and signs warning citizens about contamination. And cleanup efforts might not start for years, as there are "scores" of toxic sites in Wisconsin waiting their turn.

PCBs are persistent chemicals that remain in our environment despite having been banned in 1976. PCBs can cause cancer and neurological and reproductive difficulties in humans and other mammals.

EWG's work on PCBs in farmed salmon is available here.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel have the full stories.

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