Fish Consumption in Our Region
The environmental toxins we are exposed to everyday are now becoming apparent in our water. These contaminants do not readily break down and can bioaccumulate, or build up in organisms over time. Small marine animals acquire these substances by different means, such as food intake, respiration and skin contact. These toxins then build up or accumulate in the organisms, which are then eaten by larger organisms and so on via the food chain. Eventually, the toxins are consumed by humans.
The University of Pittsburgh Center for Healthy Environments and Communities (CHEC) conducted a study on fish consumption from our three rivers. With storm water runoff and the steel industry in Pittsburgh, the waterways have become contaminated with chemicals such as heavy metals and endocrine disruptors. The report demonstrated that bioaccumulation of mercury, arsenic, and selenium, all of which are heavy metals and estrogenic chemicals, are present in white bass and channel catfish in the Pittsburgh three rivers area. This year alone, eight new fish consumption advisories have been issued by the PA Fish and Boat Commission due to mercury contamination.
To read more about the study, click here (PDF).