State May Not
Inform Public on Fish Toxin Heatlh Issues
John C. Kuehner
Plain Dealer Reporter
are considering whether to reinstate the state's fish
advisory program before next summer.
The state health
department, which cut the program last month, will meet
with officials from the Ohio Environmental Protection
Agency and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in
the coming months to discuss finding money for the program.
There's no rush
to reinstate the program this year because tissue samples
collected by the EPA and ODNR this summer will be used
as a basis for advisories next year. The Health Department
already issued this year's alerts.
"It's not a big
urgent deal because everything now is current," said EPA
spokeswoman Linda Oros.
U.S. Rep. Dennis
Kucinich demanded yesterday that the state keep the program
and expand it because it's not adequate.
his staff will research the issue and draft legislation.
He proposed making the alerts mandatory and having the
federal government set uniform standards for all states
"I'm not saying
don't eat the fish, but people have a right to know if
they consume certain quantities of fish if it will have
an adverse effect to their health," Kucinich said.
As part of state
budget cuts, the health department eliminated the program
to save $100,000. By doing so, it became the first Great
Lake state to abolish the voluntary program, which Ohio
started about a decade ago.
"I think it is
highly irresponsible for a state government not to provide
advice on whether the fish are safe to eat," said Gail
Krantzberg, director of the Great Lakes regional office
of the International Joint Commission, an independent
joint Canadian and U.S.-government agency that oversees
shared water resources between the countries.
officials review fish tissue samples and issue warnings
about how much and how often the public should eat certain
types of fish contaminated with toxic chemicals.
Women of child-bearing
age and children 6 and under are advised not to eat fish
caught in Ohio more than once a week because of mercury
groups urged residents to contact elected officials to
reinstate the program.
"The state has
two responsibilities here," said Amy Simpson, state director
of Ohio Public Interest Research Campaign, a public advocacy
group. "The first is to aggressively reduce toxic chemicals
which enter the food chain, and the second is to warn
the public where toxic risks exist."
This information is posted
for nonprofit educational purposes, in accordance with U.S.
Code Title 17, Chapter 1,Sec. 107 copyright laws.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for
purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use," you
must obtain permission from the copyright owner.