Thursday, April 24, 2014

PCBs in fish, WTF?

New sources of PCBs continue to plague fish.  It turns out we only "sort of" banned PCBs back in 1979.

This is the mother of all loopholes: PCBs are still allowed as a contaminant in some products.  Like paint and caulk.  Including the yellow paint in the middle of roads and the caulk used in gutters alongside streets.  These materials break down and drizzle PCBs into road runoff every time it rains.

So as we're paying $millions or even $$$billions to get PCBs out of our rivers, we're also paying public employees to spread shiny new sources of PCBs in our cities to contaminate fish and anyone who eats fish.

Silly us, we thought PCBs were banned!

Until recently, PCBs in fish were blamed on legacy contamination, the old PCBs that are still circulating in aquatic habitats since PCBs are slow to break down.  These so-called legacy PCBs are a problem, but now we know that a major source of PCBs in fish are the PCBs allowed as contaminants are leaching out of building materials and paints and these PCBs continue to flow into water bodies like Puget Sound every time it rains.  Ugh.  Time for some action.

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