Ohio's standards on fish provide
Port Clinton News Herald
We've all seen the reports: A state agency releases information
that fish from Lake Erie or one of its tributaries isn't
safe to eat or that we should eat only certain amounts.
We can take this information to heart, because the state
agency has completed testing that shows how much toxic
contamination the fish have been exposed to.
Unfortunately, a report earlier this month from an environmental
group says we can't put all of our trust into those reports,
because standards and testing varies widely among the
states that make up the Great Lakes basin.
The good news, however, is that Ohio's testing seems
to be stricter than the other states that the environmental
group studied, so perhaps Ohioans can place greater trust
in what Ohio agencies say about consumption of fish from
The same can't necessarily be said about advisories put
out by Michigan agencies, even though Michigan is testing
Lake Erie waters just as Ohio is.
"Same fish, same lake, different advice," is
the way that Ilan Levin put it in an interview with The
Associated Press. Levin is counsel for the Rockefeller
Family Fund's Environmental Integrity Project and author
of the report on Great Lakes water quality testing.
"If not for the fact that these are deadly serious
health concerns, the inaccuracies would be almost comical,"
The report looked at standards and testing in Ohio, Michigan,
Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin. New York and
Pennsylvania were not included because, the report said,
those states use different testing methods in addition
to different standards.
All the states included in the report test for chemicals
in the water, but only Ohio also tests the health of fish
and insects. "... that gives Ohio a better view of
the waterways," Molly Flanagan, spokeswoman for the
Ohio Environmental Council, told the AP.
Besides fish contamination, the report also was critical
of how some states determine whether waters are safe to
swim in. Again, Ohio -- along with Michigan and Indiana
-- appear to do a better job of testing than some of the
other states, according to the report.
We're happy that Ohio has adopted the stricter standards
for water quality testing, but other Great Lakes states
should follow suit to protect their own residents and
to make sure accurate information is collected throughout