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7 February 1999 Issue

PCB's

Contamination has become a very serious problem. Take PCB's for example.
PCB's are industrial chemicals used in electrical equipment, hydraulic fluid and
carbonless carbon paper. Consumer Reports found PCB's in 43% of salmon,
50% whitefish and 25% swordfish. When you eat fish contaminated with PCB's
the chemical accumulates in your body and stays there. It is linked to cancer and
spells big trouble for a developing fetus. Likewise, mercury is now found in 90%
of swordfish. A typical can of tuna contains about 15 micrograms of mercury.

How do fish get so contaminated? As water drains from pesticide-covered farm
fields, city sewers, or factories, pollutants are escorted into the chemical
cornucopia of rivers, streams, and oceans. Contaminants are absorbed by fish
as water passes over their gills. And the contaminants in smaller fish become
concentrated in larger fish who eat them.

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