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Water: Fish Advisories

Publications: Letter to the Health Care Providers (1998)

United States Government

Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry

December 1998

Dear Health Care Provider:

We need your help to spread the word in the communities you serve about exposure of persons to chemical contaminants through the consumption of contaminated fish. We want to reach those populations who consume noncommercial fish (i.e., fish caught through sport or subsistence fishing), especially the more susceptible populations including sport anglers, the elderly, children, pregnant women, and nursing infants.

In February 1998, the Administration published the Clean Water Action Plan: Restoring and Protecting America's Water. This Plan provides a blueprint for a new cooperative approach to identify and solve pollution problems and to inform citizens and officials about the quality of lakes and waterways and the safety of the fish and drinking water that come from them, as well as the beaches that surround them. The premise of the Action Plan is to ensure that citizens and officials can make informed and better decisions with clear, accurate, and timely information.

By 1997, fish advisories had been issued for more than 16% of the lake acres and more than 6% of river miles in the United States. Over the last 5 years, advisories issued in this country have increased more than 80%. These increases have occurred mostly due to increased monitoring and awareness by government agencies of the potential health risks associated with noncommercial, contaminated fish.

The enclosed brochure, Should I Eat the Fish I Catch?, was produced by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a part of the Action Plan. It is designed to provide you and the community members you serve with information on how to reduce exposure to the contaminants found in noncommercial fish. The primary audience for this brochure is communities where sport and subsistence fishing are prevalent.

The brochure is available in English, Spanish, and Hmong. For more copies of the brochures, please contact EPA's National Center for Environmental Publications, 11029 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45242. For more information, please contact the EPA Office of Water, Fish Contamination Program (4305), 401 M Street SW, Washington, DC 20460, e-mail: http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/fishadvice/ or ATSDR, Division of Health Education and Promotion, MS E-33, 1600 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30333, telephone: 404-639-6204.

J. Charles Fox
Assistant Administrator for Water
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Lynn R. Goldman, MD
Assistant Administrator for Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Barry L. Johnson, Ph.D.
Assistant Surgeon General
Assistant Administrator
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registration

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