The Michigan Department of Community Health has said it needs to do more testing to determine whether to expand the "do not eat" ban to include more types of fish from Lake St. Clair, according the Detroit Free Press. The ban applies to catfish and carp because they are known to carry high levels of toxic PCBs, but officials are concerned other fish might be too dangerous to eat as well.
* Clearwater.org defines polchlorinated biphenyls as a "group of 209 different chemicals which share a common structure" but differ slightly in regards to chlorine content. PCBs have been declared by many organizations to be a "probable carcinogen" and have been linked to multiple varieties of cancer, as well as birth defects and many other health issues.
* In the Kalamazoo River, PCB contamination was the result of pollution by paper mills and other industries that used to line its shores. Cleanup efforts have been underway for several decades.
* Cleanup efforts to remove PCBs from Michigan rivers have involved the removal of thousands of yards of contaminated soil. Current efforts include the removal of some 18,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and sediment from Portage Creek, according to MLive.
* The Michigan Department of Community Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have said the source of the Lake St. Clair contamination remains unknown. The initial contamination was found in two canals that flow into Lake St. Clair in 2001. The "do not eat" ban on all fish in the canals was issued last year.
* The Detroit Free Press reported Christina Bush, a toxicologist from the Michigan Department of Community Health, has reiterated that fish from the canals in particular but carp and catfish from Lake St. Clair are considered highly toxic.
* The Michigan Department of Community Health will conduct more testing to determine whether the ban on carp and catfish from Lake St. Clair needs to be expanded. While the agency has taken samples, Bush did not estimate when the testing or subsequent analysis would be completed.
Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in politics and public issues.
- Nature & Environment