• Rebecca Katers

    Keep in mind: The Wisconsin DNR has always been EXTREMELY reluctant to publicize fish consumption advisories that are as strong as they should be. The sale of fishing licenses is a substantial source of their funding, so DNR staff are afraid of endangering their own jobs by scaring people away from fishing.

    I remember many times over the years when local environmentalists like me had to push HARD on the DNR just to get them to print enough copies to match the number of licensed anglers in our area, but even that was far removed from guaranteeing that anglers actually SAW any of these copies. The distribution of advisories was spotty at best and unverifiable.

    For years, we pushed for warnings to be printed inside the fishing regulation book that each license holder received annually, to make sure everybody received it … but the DNR refused. (Does anyone know what Scott Walker’s DNR does now? These things always need to be monitored…)

    Even if anglers receive advisories, they don’t realize how thoroughly politicized and weakened the warnings are. Anglers aren’t getting the full story or TRUE risk warnings.

    The DNR isb’t the only, or even the biggest, obstacle to public awareness. Publicity about health risks from fish consumption has also been heavily stifled by the tourism industry, charter fishing businesses, commercial fishermen, marinas, bait shops, sporting goods retailers, grocers, restaurants, hotel operators, local governments, municipal wastewater dischargers, corporate polluters, and other economic sectors with a financial stake in “good fishing.”

    Elected officials of both parties have also been leery of ( and likely warned against) making an issue of fish contamination.

    The medical establishment never says anything either … so that leaves a few scattered environmentalists as virtually the only outspoken advocates for full public awareness of all likely health risks.

    But who listens to environmentalists?

    Well-funded and carefully-orchestrated corporate disinformation campaigns have been trashing environmentalists for several decades, so now even environmentalists often refuse to be called “environmentalists” or be seen associating with “wacko extremists.”

    So who’s left to warn the public?

  • Rebecca Katers

    BTW — Concerns about flame retardants are NOT just an “emerging” concern.

    PBDE’a have been a MAJOR concern in many scientific, health and environmental circles for well over a decade already, but these compounds are still being produced in MASSIVE quantities and have been incorporated in a multitude of everyday products that most of us use every day.

    I remember attending one scientist’s presentation about PBDE’s in the Great Lakes (particularly Lake Michigan) at least 10 years ago. During his talk, he kept adding this aside: “… and did I mention that this is a very large and powerful industry?”

    He was warning everyone in the room that it would be a long, difficult, uphill battle to reduce or eliminate public use of PBDE’s, and a potentially risky issue for scientists to research, publicize or (…heaven forbid…) tackle in the public policy arena. These are PROFITABLE compounds, so he was strongly hinting that big producers would fight legal restrictions every step of the way, using all tools at their disposal.

    For EPA and DNR to STILL be calling PBDE’s “an emerging issue” is not a good sign. It means all of us may be forced to wait another decade or 2 before adequate regulations are in place, and by then it may be too late for several generations of us. The billions of pounds of PBDE’s already produced and released into the environment by then could continue circulating in our food, water, soil and air for another 100 years and probably longer, because PBDE’s are as persistent as their closely related chemical cousins, PCBs and Dioxins, and are likely to pose similar health risks due to their similar chemical structures.