Monday, 11 May 2015

Is this fish’s cancerous tumor a sign of water pollution?

May 10, 2015

Chuck Bednar for redOrbit.com – @BednarChuck

The confirmation that a smallmouth bass caught in a Pennsylvania river last year had a rare type of cancerous tumor has some people concerned about the health of aquatic life in the region, and worried that the waterway might be polluted with dangerous chemicals.

As reported by the Washington Post on Tuesday, officials with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission confirmed that the bass did have a cancerous tumor, adding they would continue to investigate the matter and collect evidence “to build a case” so that they could “take some action on behalf of the fish” in the Susquehanna River.

Cancer is rare in fish, and the Commission said that this is the first-ever confirmed tumor to be found in a smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna River. Executive director John Arway told the newspaper that he and his colleagues first started noticing lesions on local fish in 2005, and that they had been petitioning the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection since then to include the river on the EPA’s list of “impaired waterways.”

No evidence of any health hazard to humans

Those efforts have thus far been successful, as the two agencies are at odds over whether the designation is warranted. Under the federal Clean Water Act, impaired waters are those lakes, rivers, and streams that fail to meet one or more water-quality standards, and are considered too polluted for their intended uses.


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