The Hudson River Trustees are conducting a natural resource damage assessment to determine restoration required to compensate for injuries to natural resources from PCBs in and around the Hudson River.
Natural Resources Exposed to PCBs
Living resources at every level of the Hudson's aquatic, terrestrial, and wetland-based food chains are contaminated with PCBs. PCB contamination is found in aquatic insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals such as mink, otter, bats, mice, shrews, and voles. PCB concentrations in the Hudson River's wildlife are higher than the levels at which negative effects are usually seen or expected.
For example, the Trustees have found the following:
- In sediments, PCBs are present at levels potentially causing harmful impacts to aquatic ecosystems.
- In fish, PCBs levels associated with biochemical changes and adverse reproductive effects are exceeded.
- In mink, PCB levels associated with reproductive impairment are exceeded.
- In snapping turtles, PCB levels associated with the latent mortality in juveniles are exceeded.
- In bullfrogs, PCB levels associated with significant risk for various adverse effects in amphibians, including physical malformations, are exceeded.
- In birds, PCB levels associated with reproductive impairment are exceeded.
Serious adverse effects are likely to be occurring to these, and potentially other, living organisms exposed to the PCB contamination in the Hudson River region. To understand those effects, further studies on natural resources of the Hudson River, including fish, mink, sediment, birds, and waterfowl, are currently underway.
Recent Studies and Publications
Injury determination work on birds supported by the Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees was presented by the Trustees' Principal Investigators at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry meeting, November 11-15, 2012, in Long Beach, California. The poster/presentations and abstracts are as follows: