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Great Lakes Fish in Canada Heavily Polluted

Great Lakes are a group of five large lakes in North America on or near the Canada-United States border. They are the largest group of fresh water lakes on Earth.

A report released by Environmental Defense shows that levels of toxic chemicals in the lakes are alarmingly high.

The report, Up to the Gills: Pollution in Great Lakes Fish, analyzed the fish advisories published by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment for four species of fish in 13 locations across the Great Lakes.

Many types of popular sports fish found in the Great Lakes remain so heavily contaminated by industrial chemicals such as dioxins, PCBs, and methyl mercury that they are unfit for human consumption, says the report.

Health effects of these chemicals include damage to the nervous, respiratory and immune system, as well as cancer.

While there have been reductions in contaminants in parts of the Great Lakes, severe problems remain, particularly for fish caught in Lake Ontario, where there has been a marked rise in the number of advisories recommending reduced fish consumption. Contamination levels are also worrisome in Lake Huron and many areas with unsafe-to-eat fish remain in Lake Erie and even Lake Superior, the least polluted of the Great Lakes.

The fish species reviewed included coho salmon, rainbow trout, walleye, pike, and lake trout.

The trends in fish consumption advisories clear indicate that the lakes continue to be polluted to such an extent that human health is threatened, it said, calling for steps to significantly reduce pollution emissions in the Great Lakes basin and deal with the continuing legacy of dangerous chemicals, such as PCBs, once used electrical equipment but banned in 1970s. Even though PCBs have not been used for decades, they are still being found in some fish at unsafe levels.

The report was based on a comparison of Ministry of Environment recommendat
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