People of Northwest Public Radio
Wed April 30, 2014
Federal Government Finds Harmful Contaminants In Columbia River Fish
What you pour down your drain could be hurting fish and wildlife populations on the Columbia River – and possibly people too.
That’s according to findings by the U.S. Geological Survey from three sites below the Bonneville Dam.
Elena Nilsen is a research chemist at USGS in Portland. She says their research sheds new light on how household products negatively impact the Columbia River ecosystem.
“A lot of these things come through the pathways of the wastewater treatment plant into the river – but the ultimate source was usually us," says Nilsen.
If resident sucker fish are consumed regularly, health risks, including cancer, could increase.
Nilsen says immigrant communities catch and eat more resident fish than other groups – so they could be the most affected.
Health authorities in Oregon and Washington are responsible for issuing any formal consumption advisories.
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