EPA-PCB’s polychlorinated biphenyls are a group of chemicals, known as cogenors, and volatile organic compounds VOC’s accumulating in fish, water and soil in Lake Hartwell have an issued and advisory about eating contaminated fish.
To assess the risks that these PCB’s may present to the people who eat them, fish are frequently collected, and the concentrations of the muscle portion are determined. However most people eat the whole fish when it is caught, and different tissues hold more toxin than other portions so this study may not necessarily give a true representation of the actual concentrations if the fish. PCB’s are used as coolants and lubricants in transformers, capacitors and electrical equipment. The manufacture of PCB’s stopped in 1977 because of the evidence that they build up in the environment and cause cancer.
Babies are born with lower birth weights
Skin cancer mortality rate is four times higher among electric utility workers exposed to PCB’s, than the national risk. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, pancreatic, lung, kidney, prostate and breast cancers were found in clusters of the population who ate or were exposed to the waters. A woman’s chance of getting breast cancer before the age of 50 is three times higher if she has a high amount of PCB’s in her system during her reproductive years.
Why are they harmful because they are stored in the fatty tissue and slowly released into the bloodstream even when eaten at low level exposure, the accumulations can reach a high level.
Of mothers who have eaten moderate to high amounts of contaminated fish during six years preceding pregnancy and continued to eat during pregnancy the developmental effects were still present in babies 5-7 months old by depressed responsiveness, impaired visual recognition, and poor short term memory.
By the age of four these same children showed deficits in weight gain, depressed responsiveness, reduced performance in visual recognition-memory tests. By the age of 11 these children are three times more likely to have low verbal IQ scores, twice as likely to lag behind at least two years in reading comprehension and have difficulty paying attention. Unborn babies are vulnerable to brain damage during pregnancy. Maternal exposure happening before pregnancy can contribute to overall body burden and result in exposure to the developing fetus.
PCB’s suppress the endocrine system
The thyroid hormone levels in humans are critical for normal growth and development, and suppresses the immune system, and may have significant implications in the body’s ability for fighting off other diseases.
Make sure children wash face and hands after playing in the dirt and do not eat the dirt. Swimming is not forbidden which doesn’t make sense, except the EPA says the PCB’s and Voc’s are in the ground water bottom feeding fish and sport fish.
Lake Hartwell and area fish advisory
Do not eat any: Twelve Mile Creek, Seneca River Arm
Do not eat any in all Remaining Waters: Hybrid Bass or Striped Bass
Eat only one meal per month: Channel catfish, Largemouth Bass.
History of contamination
The Sangamo Weston, owned and operated a capacitor manufacturing plant from 1955 to 1987. The iste contains six areas where operations where disposed of downstream ( and the Ogeechee River residents shouldn’t be worried about King America Finishing toxic dumping/) from the site including the areas listed above. It is said in the paper the other areas of dumping are now vacant areas, but if you can look up this information at a nearby library and find out if your home borders or is near one of these sites.
A merger with Sangamo Weston, they became Schlumberger Technology Corporation, and in 1999 donated the infected areas to the City of Pickens, now developed into a public recreation complex. Not Good. Schlumberger led site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight by EPA and SCDHEC. With recent stories of Ogeechee Riverkeeper versus EPA and KAF, you can’t help but doubt the effort that was and is being made to cleanup or at least hope this company is more responsible than King America Finishing. At least advisories/warnings about eating the fish are being put into place and the public should not eat the fish.
Check fish advisories for your area:
North Georgia County Map and A Woman’s Guide to Eating Fish and Seafood from North Georgia
Middle and South Georgia County Map and A Woman’s Guide to Eating Fish and Seafood from Middle and South Georgia