Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cleaning Up: Ecology asks for public's help in protecting human health

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program

Ecology is starting a public dialogue on how we can update environmental standards to be more protective of people who eat fish and shellfish from the state’s waters.

You can find out more information on this issue, and how you can participate in Ecology’s process, on this web portal and in this news release.

This effort follows progress Washington has made to prevent sources of toxic chemicals that contaminate our air, water, soil, food, and our bodies.

Washington has reduced mercury pollution and is phasing out persistent chemicals that build up in the food chain, such as toxic flame retardants. The state has taken steps to reduce and phase out the use of copper brake pads, lead wheel weights, copper boat paints, and chemicals in children’s products.

We know that eating fish and shellfish is an important part of a healthy diet. But toxic substances in the state’s waters and sediment can end up in fish and shellfish, which eventually are eaten by people.

To get at this problem, Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup and Water Quality programs are developing a more accurate view of how much fish and shellfish Washington residents eat.

Current science indicates that the current fish consumption rates do not accurately reflect how much of our state’s fish and shellfish Washingtonians actually eat each day. In fact, the available information indicates that some of us consume much larger amounts.

Ecology is asking for comments on a newly released technical support document, which focuses on fish consumption in Washington and existing environmental and human health information. The document is available through our web portal.

This is just the start of the conversation. We’ll keep you updated as the process unfolds.

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