The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is conducting its annual tests on a South Carolina lake for a cancer-causing pollutant. Annually, DHEC checks the state’s rivers and lakes for polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCB’s, in fish.
“They were widely used decades ago in many types of oils, especially in oils that were used inside electrical transformers,” says Berry.
Thom Berry with DHEC says these PCB’s have been banned in the country since 1978, but they remain persistent in the environment. He says it’s been more than 30 years since they have seen PCB’s being used, but they still check the bodies of waters in South Carolina throughout the year. Next up is Lake Wateree, which is about 30 miles northeast of Columbia.
“We may find the presence in the fish tissue, but we would anticipate finding it in levels that would not be enough to cause any public health concern or to warrant any kind of advisory,” says Berry.
Berry explains the reasoning behind the testing: “We do this testing to find out just exactly what may happen to be there so that we can base any public health notifications on the science and results of what we find,” says Berry.
But, finding anything harmful in these fish is unlikely, says Berry.