Published: Jan 1980
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The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has tested more than 2500 samples for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) since 1970. What began as a troubleshooting, problem-oriented program has evolved into a statewide surveillance program designed to screen large geographic areas and to concentrate on local problem areas. The screening approach utilizes carp as an indicator species, while local problem areas are assessed using a wide range of fish species, as well as river sediment samples, to locate PCB point sources.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources provides it annual testing data to the Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services, which in turn reviews the data and makes a public health recommendation concerning the consumption of fish containing PCBs. Currently, five locations in Wisconsin are affected by a consumption advisory: Lake Pepin (Mississippi River), Lake Michigan (including the bay of Green Bay), the lower Fox River, the upper Fox River, and the Sheboygan River. Various species of PCBs have been identified in fish from these areas. A knowledge of the industrial application of various species of PCB compared with existing industries in a PCB problem area can sometimes be used to locate the sources of these contaminants. The department also provides its annual data to sport and commercial fishermen to assist them in harvesting fish that are low in PCBs.
aquatic toxicology, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), surveillance, fish consumption advisory
Surveillance chemist, Bureau of Water Quality, Madison, Wis.