Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Seattle has a new claim to fame.  No, it's not coffee, software, airplanes, or even Macklemore.  It's seazombies.  

You can find them in "restored" salmon streams, places we've spent good money to create happy homes for fish.  After our beloved fish make it all the way back home to spawn, a flush of rain washes mysterious toxic chemicals into the water.  Some die, but some suffer a worse fate, they live on as poisoned seazombies.

Marine life in Puget Sound is contaminated with a stew of toxic chemicals.  PCB, PDBEs, PAHs, QRXDs, ABCDs, and even MX47UDPs.  

Could it be Seattle's nasty little PCB habit?  It's probably toxic chemicals, but something more sinister, not so easy to identify as PCBs.

Of course, this isn't just a problem for fish.  Runoff of toxic chemicals into lovely Puget Sound have made our orcas some of the most contaminated marine mammals on earth.  The problem is so bad that baby orcas sometimes die of contamination in their first year.

What does this mean for people?  We eat the same contaminated salmon that the orcas eat.  Uh oh.


Anonymous said...

What does this say for WA efforts at altering the Fish Consumption Rate that guides allowable contaminant water quality criteria? Oregon elected to exclude salmon from the process, with the assumption (inspite of all the toxic contaminants flowing out of the Columbia and Willamette systems) that most pollutants in salmon do not come from within the state of Oregon. Does that mean that WA should include salmon, but OR should not have to? We have to get toxics reduction onto an intensive schedule. Ray Kinney

Anonymous said...

The state of OR, inspite of all the contaminants moving down the Willamette and Columbia systems, decided to not include salmon into the Oregon Fish Consumption Rate Process that is to drive the new criteria and standards for future water quality. Is the state of WA going down the same denial pathway in deciding the consumption rate? Many of us eat lots of salmon. We all desperately need a rapid toxics reduction strategy for our states, denial of the role salmon consumption plays into public health declines is counterproductive to say the least. Sea zombies R us. Ray Kinney

Mark Powell said...

Thanks for your comments, Ray. I think salmon are included in WA, we have chinook that are largely resident in Puget Sound so there is no reason to exclude them. Yes, I agree with you, Sea Zombies R Us. Sounds like a good bumper sticker.