Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant and children need to be careful about eating fish from local waters. This is due to mercury exposure and other toxins often found in fish. The information below helps to highlight the risks.
A series of stories published by public radio WNYC and other publications show that the residual pollution in NY Harbor and related waters can get you sick, with more than 100 companies potentially responsible for dumping toxic waste in it for decades before that was outlawed in the early 1970s.
Eating any fish from the Passaic River can cause cancer, liver damage, birth defects and reproductive issues; yet WNYC shows, in its “New Jersey’s Dirty Little Secrets” series,” how there are people who still do it all the time. But it also shows what’s being done to protect people.
New Jersey also puts out a list of the waterways in the state where eating fish could be a problem. Here is information from its latest advisory, indicating which fish not to eat:
GENERAL POPULATION: Fish not to eat
Some of the companies responsible for polluting the Passaic are funding a fish exchange program. Every Saturday between June and October, residents can bring their contaminated catch to a tent in Lyndhurst and swap it for clean, healthy tilapia being raised in a greenhouse in Newark, according to WNYC.
In 2015, none of their 300 tilapia reached harvest size, so the polluters handed out frozen tilapia fillets from Costco instead, even though they’re not sure how to dispose of the contaminated eel, carp, perch and crab they’ve collected, according to the report.
Byproducts from the manufacture of compounds like Agent Orange and hydraulic fluid were dumped in the Passaic, and 54 companies are potentially responsible, including Pfizer, Rubbermaid and Tiffany & Co. They have combined to form a group called, “The Lower Passaic River Study Area Cooperating Parties Group,” according to WNYC.
Click here to find out more about how to handle fish that could be potentially contaminated.
Clich here to find out more about what fish from your area you can eat, and when.
HUDSON RIVER: Health Advice on Eating Fish You Catch
Consumer Guide to Mercury in Fish