Study: Warnings about contaminated fish fall short

Apr 25, 2017
Originally published on April 24, 2017 5:20 pm

It’s important to know that the food you’re eating  is safe—especially when it comes to fish caught in polluted waters.


The EPA’s office of inspector general recently evaluated the warnings issued by states and indigenous American tribes throughout the nation.

The study found that some states and tribes are failing to warn anglers about the risks of eating contaminated fish. That leaves many, especially sustenance anglers, vulnerable to health problems. Generally, small children and pregnant women are the most susceptible.

Katie Butler of the inspector general’s office says that posting warning advisories is one of the best ways to educate anglers. But, the study found that not all fishing sites have them.

“We visited several sites around the country, there were several especially tribal fishing sites, where we didn’t see advisory posted, some other just public fishing sites where we also didn’t see advisories posted,” she said.

And, when warnings were posted, some contained so much information, that they could be confusing. Butler says there are ways to explain which types of fish are risky and how often they can be eaten.

“We think that the EPA ... can act as a bridge connecting federal agencies and states and tribes and that can help make sure that fish advisories are out there they’re clear and they provide the public with relevant information for making healthy decisions,” she said.

The inspector general’s office has made several recommendations to the EPA. And the agency has begun to address those concerns.

Here's a link to the report: https://www.epa.gov/office-inspector-general/report-epa-needs-provide-leadership-and-better-guidance-improve-fish

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