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What's not for dinner? Great Lakes fish.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A report by the Canadian watchdog Environmental Defence has revealed that many types of Great Lakes fish are "somewhat or completely unfit for human consumption". And, the organization warns, fish advisories will increase as more categories of fish are found to be dangerously contaminated.

The report, Up to the Gills, examines fish advisories issued by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. While the organization is quick to point out that fish is a healthy source of nutrients for humans, they (rightly, I think) want to draw attention to the fact that pollution regulations on the Great Lakes are too lenient:
"[...] toxic contamination levels suggest that we are still treating the Great Lakes as a toxic waste dump,” said Aaron Freeman, Policy Director of Environmental Defence. “We are clearly not doing enough to protect this vital ecosystem. We need stronger pollution regulations and a real plan from the federal and provincial governments to clean up the Lakes.”

The organization also points out that all fish is subject to some contamination. The biggest toxic concerns for the Great Lakes include mercury, PCBs, pesticides, dioxins and furans, many of which are also a problem for ocean and farmed fish. The report makes several recommendations, including -- wait for it -- reducing pollution!

A little fuzzy on fish consumption? EWG's tuna calculator will help you figure out how much canned tuna you can safely eat a week, and seafoodwatch.org has a guide to what fish to buy (and why).

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