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Old Pollution Lingering Topic at Lakes Conference

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U-S and Canadian scientists are closing a Great Lakes conference in Chicago today. They’re proposing new environmental priorities, but Chicago Public Radio’s Shawn Allee reports they say old problems still dog the lakes.

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Cancer-causing PCB’s were banned back in the Carter administration, but PCB’s pollution stuck around.

EPA’s Gary Galezian says PCB levels are on the decline, but they still make some lake fish unfit to eat.

Galezian: Since the late seventies, the levels have come down by a factor of more than ten, but in order for us to fully lift fish consumption advisories for lake trout for Lake Michigan, they’re gonna have to come down by another factor of twenty or thirty.

PCBs were used to make electronic parts before they got banned.

The chemical persists in lakebed sediment.

Even today, pregnant women are warned to avoid regular consumption of fish caught in Lake Superior due to PCBs.

Current PCB levels are much lower in most Lake Michigan fish.

I’m Shawn Allee.

Chicago Public Radio.

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