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Uptake into the Marine Food Chain

The long-term environmental effects from the disposal of toxic materials in the marine environment are documented by the EPA. These materials of concern exist in dangerous concentrations within the hulls of naval vessels and have lasting impacts on marine life,

however

these

impacts

are

considered

acceptable under current EPA environmental risk-assessments.

a. Asbestos Studies have investigated the effects of asbestos on fish and indicate that asbestos may cause

epidermal

lesions,

epithelial

hypertrophy,

kidney damage, decreased orientation and swimming ability, degradation of the lateral line, reduced growth and increased mortality.110 The BMP only requires the removal of loose asbestos and asbestos that may become loose during sinking. Large amounts of asbestos are allowed to remain onboard the vessel during sinking, and this asbestos enters the marine environment with clear potential to harm marine wildlife.

b. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) PCBs are persistent organic pollutants (POP) targeted for global phase-out and total destruction under the Stockholm Convention. Due to their longevity as a molecule, and their capacity to be attracted to fatty tissue and accumulate in the marine food chain, PCBs are perhaps the greatest concern of all shipboard contaminants. PCBs bind to sediments, bio- accumulate in fish and other animals and bio- magnify in the food chain, creating hazards at

all levels.111

As a result, people who ingest

contaminated fish may be exposed to dangerous

Batterman, A.L. and P.M. Cook. 1981; Belanger, S.E.,et al 1986; Belanger, S.E., et al 1990; Woodhead, A.D., et al 1983. 110

111

http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/TRIBAL.NSF/af6d4571f3e2b16988 25650f0071180a/1e4f27736563fc3a882571db00661b15/$FILE/ 910-F- 99-001PCBS.pdf

EXTERNALIZED COSTS

levels of PCBs.112

In fact, due to the toxin’s

accumulation believe there PCBs. 113

properties, many scientists is no safe level of exposure to

PCBs have been implicated in: reduced primary productivity in phytoplankton, reduced hatchability of contaminated fish and bird eggs,

reproductive

failure

in

seals,

reproductive

impairment efficiency in requires all

in fish, and reduced fertilization

sea urchins.114

The reefing BMP

liquid PCBs be

removed and all

manufactured

materials

containing

more

than

50 parts However,

per million (ppm) of solid PCBs. many solid matrix PCB contaminated

materials containing onboard for sinking.

less

than

50

ppm

remain

The Navy examined the ORISKANY artificial reef to determine the effects PCB leaching has on marine habitat and human health. The ORISKANY was environmentally cleaned in accordance with EPA requirements, yet an estimated 700 pounds of pure PCBs (above 50 ppm concentration) still remained onboard.115 The study determined PCB concentrations released into the waters surrounding the reef accumulated in the bodies of reef fish and are digested by recreational anglers and their families from eating fish caught at the reef.116

The EPA notes “PCBs have been shown to cause cancer in animals and have also been shown to cause a number of serious non- cancer health

National Guidance: Best Management Practices for Preparing Vessels Intended to Create Artificial Reefs, May 2006, Pg. 35 112

113

http://yosemite.epa.gov/r10/owcm.nsf/88fa11a23f885ef3882565 000062d635/a9578719c73ad1de882569ed00782e89?OpenDoc ument#r educe

114 Adams, J.A. and S. Slaughter-Williams. 1988; Brouwer, A., et al 1989; Clark, R.B. 1992.;den Beston, et al 1991.

Olsen, Erik, New York Times Leach Rate Study, Prospective Risk Assessment Model for ex-ORISKANY, US Navy. 115 116

BASEL ACTION NETWORK

39

2011

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