Women of childbearing Age, infants and children under the age of 15 should not eat any fish from Onondaga Lake.
Chemicals in Sportfish and Game: 2008-2009 Health Advisories
Governor Patterson and the New York State Department of Health has published the “Chemicals in Sportfish and Game: 2008-2009 Health Advisories” warning of the dangers of the polluted waters. The Onondaga Lake’s listed chemicals of concern in fish include Mercury, PCBs, Dioxin which under the current lake clean up plan would remain in the lake.
Sid Hill’s statement during the 2005 Onondaga Land Rights press conference when asked about Honeywell’s proposed cleanup plan, “We want to be able to eat the fish and drink the water.”
The following write-ups provide some basic information on the chemicals that have been found in sportfish and game in New York State.
Health concerns: Studies of women and their children show a link between elevated levels of PCBs in their bodies and slight effects on their children’s birth weight, short-term memory and learning ability. A study of older adults (49-86 years old) who ate fish containing PCBs suggest that higher PCB exposure is associated with decreased memory and learning. Other studies have suggested a link between increased PCB exposure and effects on the human reproductive system, including changes in sperm quality, time to pregnancy and menstrual cycles. These studies suggest that the effects were caused by PCBs, but other factors may have played a role too. Studies of workers exposed to PCBs raise concerns that these chemicals can cause cancer in people, but the information is not adequate to prove that this is the case.
Health concerns: Methylmercury can cause effects on the nervous system. Exposure to methylmercury is more of a concern for children and unborn babies because their nervous systems are still developing. People who ate fish that contained large amounts of methylmercury had permanent damage to the brain, kidneys and fetus. Some recent research on populations that eat a large amount of fish finds that methylmercury can affect children’s memory, attention and language development. Other research on a different population that also eats large amounts of fish has not found such effects.
Dioxins and Furans
Health concerns: Most of what we know about dioxins and furans come from one particular dioxin, but many of these chemicals are likely to cause similar health effects. Dioxins and furans have been associated with causing skin effects as well as changes in reproductive hormone levels and indicators of liver function in people. Weaker evidence suggests that these chemicals can also cause a number of other health effects in people. Such effects include an association between a mother’s exposure and effects on her child’s nervous system, hormone levels and immune system. Some dioxins have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels of the chemicals throughout their lifetime. Some evidence suggests that people exposed to dioxins, as well as other chemicals at the same time, have developed cancer.
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