PennFuture Calls for Immediate Advisory on Health Risk From State Hatchery Trout

New Information Shows Fish and Boat Commission Appears to Have Misled Public,

Other Agencies



Apr 10, 2001, 01:00 ET from Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future

    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Citizens for Pennsylvania's
 Future (PennFuture) today called on the Pennsylvania Departments of
 Environmental Protection (DEP) and Health to immediately warn Pennsylvanians
 that eating unrestricted amounts of trout caught in the Commonwealth may be
 risky to human health, particularly that of young children and pregnant women.
 This action comes as PennFuture has discovered that the report by the
 Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), clearing hatchery raised fish of
 contamination by PCB's, used erroneous data and scientifically invalid
 analyses.  Action at this time is crucial as trout season is scheduled to
 begin this Saturday, April 14.
     "DEP, PFBC and the Department of Health must take immediate action to
 protect the health of its citizens," said Kurt J. Weist, Senior Attorney for
 PennFuture, a statewide public interest organization.  "They must immediately
 retract their statement of March 2 claiming that no fish advisories are
 necessary this year, and spread the word that trout stocked from several
 state hatcheries are contaminated with toxins."
     In making their March 2 statement that no fish consumption advisories are
 needed for the 2.4 million trout currently being stocked into Pennsylvania
 streams, DEP and the Department of Health apparently relied upon the analyses
 performed by the Fish and Boat Commission.  In fact, PFBC significantly
 understated the levels of PCB's -- a pollutant which accumulates in animal and
 human tissue and can put pregnant women and children at health risk -- by
 using laboratory results that systematically underestimated the concentration
 of PCBs in the samples.  A DEP official today informed PennFuture that the
 agency would not have relied on that data had they been aware of the
 problems.  In addition, PFBC mistakenly failed to use certain results of its
 statistical analyses, which themselves were slightly flawed.
     "As soon as we realized the danger, we asked DEP to take immediate
 action," continued Weist.  "But with only four days to go before trout season
 begins, we know we have an obligation to warn the public.  Otherwise, the
 health of our families will be at risk."
     PennFuture, which has offices in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh,
 is a statewide public interest membership organization that advances policies
 to protect and improve the state's environment and economy.  PennFuture's
 activities include litigating cases before regulatory bodies and in local,
 state and federal courts, advocating and advancing legislative action on a
 state and federal level, public education and assisting citizens in public
 advocacy.
 
 

SOURCE Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future
    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Citizens for Pennsylvania's
 Future (PennFuture) today called on the Pennsylvania Departments of
 Environmental Protection (DEP) and Health to immediately warn Pennsylvanians
 that eating unrestricted amounts of trout caught in the Commonwealth may be
 risky to human health, particularly that of young children and pregnant women.
 This action comes as PennFuture has discovered that the report by the
 Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), clearing hatchery raised fish of
 contamination by PCB's, used erroneous data and scientifically invalid
 analyses.  Action at this time is crucial as trout season is scheduled to
 begin this Saturday, April 14.
     "DEP, PFBC and the Department of Health must take immediate action to
 protect the health of its citizens," said Kurt J. Weist, Senior Attorney for
 PennFuture, a statewide public interest organization.  "They must immediately
 retract their statement of March 2 claiming that no fish advisories are
 necessary this year, and spread the word that trout stocked from several
 state hatcheries are contaminated with toxins."
     In making their March 2 statement that no fish consumption advisories are
 needed for the 2.4 million trout currently being stocked into Pennsylvania
 streams, DEP and the Department of Health apparently relied upon the analyses
 performed by the Fish and Boat Commission.  In fact, PFBC significantly
 understated the levels of PCB's -- a pollutant which accumulates in animal and
 human tissue and can put pregnant women and children at health risk -- by
 using laboratory results that systematically underestimated the concentration
 of PCBs in the samples.  A DEP official today informed PennFuture that the
 agency would not have relied on that data had they been aware of the
 problems.  In addition, PFBC mistakenly failed to use certain results of its
 statistical analyses, which themselves were slightly flawed.
     "As soon as we realized the danger, we asked DEP to take immediate
 action," continued Weist.  "But with only four days to go before trout season
 begins, we know we have an obligation to warn the public.  Otherwise, the
 health of our families will be at risk."
     PennFuture, which has offices in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh,
 is a statewide public interest membership organization that advances policies
 to protect and improve the state's environment and economy.  PennFuture's
 activities include litigating cases before regulatory bodies and in local,
 state and federal courts, advocating and advancing legislative action on a
 state and federal level, public education and assisting citizens in public
 advocacy.
 
 SOURCE  Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future