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There were also two sampling events in 2008 on a control reef (see Table 2). The control reef is a concrete bridge rubble reef that is 8 miles from the Ex-USS ORISKANY site. The control reef samples were taken on the same days as the Ex-USS ORISKANY samples in 2008. PCB concentrations in fish caught at the Ex-USS ORISKANY site in 2008 were more than 932%, on average, higher than PCB concentrations in fish caught at the control reef.

The Ex-USS ORISKANY sampling does not merely show fish contamination in the state of Florida; rather, it shows that approximately 95 naval vessels intentionally sunk in the last 11 years alone (through SINKEX and artificial reefing) have placed the marine environment and human health at unreasonable risk of toxic exposure.

The Ex-USS ORISKANY site is a popular diving and recreational fishing destination. Fish caught at this site clearly contain elevated PCB levels, which the families of anglers are

digesting

without

warning.

The

Florida

Department of Health (DOH) only releases a PCB fish consumption advisory when fish tissue saturation is 50 ppb or above. BAN’s analysis of the Ex-USS ORISKANY post-sinking data clearly shows total mean PCB concentrations above this limit. Yet the public remains unaware of the toxins they ingest and the health risks associated.

It is clear that dumping Navy vessels at sea places the public and vital fisheries at unreasonable risk. The Ex-USS ORISKANY case clearly shows detrimental impacts to the environment at unacceptable and unhealthy levels, yet these recent findings have not altered the course of the Ex-USS ARTHUR RADFORD, scheduled for sinking in Summer 2011.

The sinking of the Ex-USS ARTHUR RADFORD is intended to increase recreational fishing and diving opportunities within the artificial reef site, an area where the state itself advises against fish consumption. “Indeed, they [PCBs] are present in the waters of the tidal Delaware

HUMAN HEALTH RISK

River and Delaware Bay, also referred to as the Delaware Estuary, at concentrations up to 1 , 0 0 0 t i m e s h i g h e r t h a n a l l o w e d u n d e r c u r r e n t water quality criteria…”36 In fact, the 2009

Delaware Fish Consumption Advisory states that in Delaware Atlantic Coastal Waters, NO CONSUMPTION is advisable for women of childbearing age and children, with all other groups advised to eat no more than one meal per year of the following fish: white perch, American eel, channel catfish, white catfish, bluefish-greater than 14 inches, weakfish and striped bass due to polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination.37

It’s important to note that the Delaware Artificial Reef Program states “gamefish such as bluefish, striped bass and weakfish are attracted to baitfish, which congregate around reef structures.”38 In effect, the gamefish that anglers are seeking to catch at the artificial reef sites, are in fact not advisable for human consumption due to PCB contamination.

As the sunken Ex-USS ORISKANY deteriorates on the ocean floor, PCBs are leaching from the vessel and are being taken up by fish at the reef site. Image Source: FWC Artificial Reef Program

36

http://www.sussexcountian.com/newsnow/x1991985412/Accept able-PCB-levels-to-be-discussed-by-Delaware-River-Basin- Commission

http://www.fw.delaware.gov/Fisheries/Pages/Advisories.aspx http://www.fw.delaware.gov/Fisheries/Pages/ArtificialReefProg ram.aspx 37 38

BASEL ACTION NETWORK

21

2011

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