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Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 19, 2014 at 12:10 PM

A high fish-consumption rate would result in unattainable goals

With regard to increasing the fish-consumption rate in this state, one critical fact is never mentioned: There is no way that reducing the discharge of certain pollutants would reduce their concentrations in fish to acceptable levels [“Protect water and health by updating state’s fish-consumption rate,” Opinion, May 16].

Virtually no fish in the world could be consumed at the high-consumption rates being debated and not yield unacceptable cancer risks (one additional case of cancer among one million people exposed, under the current state regulations). Even Alaskan salmon have PCB concentrations (thanks to global atmospheric transport) far in excess of that goal.

Billions of dollars will be spent in this state by municipal and industrial dischargers, even though the PCB concentrations they would be forced to try to achieve are less than the PCB concentrations in river water emanating from our forests, also as a result of global atmospheric transport.

Having worked for more than three decades as an environmental consultant, I know that there are intelligent people within the state Department of Ecology who understand that adopting a high fish-consumption rate would result in unattainable goals, and yet none of them are willing to stand up and say it in public. It is about time that they did.

Lawrence McCrone, Bellevue

Comments | More in Environment | Topics: fish-consumption rate, Lawrence McCrone, PCBs

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