Fish from Charleston waters may be contaminated, new MUSC study finds

Fish from Charleston waters may be contaminated, new MUSC study finds

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Researchers from MUSC are calling for health advisories to warn people about eating local fish that may be contaminated.

A new study lead by MUSC experts found pollutants in certain species of fish in the Charleston Harbor, the Cooper River and the Ashley River.

Researchers behind the study tested 39 whole fish and 37 fish fillets.

“Fish is still really good for you,” Chairman of MUSC’s Department of Public Health Sciences John Vena said. “But the fact is, if you have high consumption from contaminated areas, you’re going to increase the burden you get from these environmental chemicals.”

The study found that there were higher contamination levels in fish from the Cooper and Ashley rivers than in the Charleston Harbor.

Results from the study also indicate pollutants in all sampled fillets exceeded human health values set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The most common pollutant found were polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.

According to the study from MUSC, those are industrial chemicals that were banned in the U.S. in 1979, but they are still present in the environment.

“The fact is, a lot of studies are showing even low levels of exposures, especially cumulative exposures, can have adverse outcomes,” MUSC expert Patricia Fair said. “We want to limit these exposures.”

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