Fish Contamination Education Collaborative

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Fish Contamination Education Collaborative Logo

The Palos Verdes Shelf, located off the coast of Los Angeles, is among the largest contaminated sediment sites in the US. Between 1947 and 1983, the Montrose Chemical Company discharged over 100 tons of DDT into local sewers that emptied into the Pacific Ocean. Other industries also released PCBs into the water. This area is heavily fished by subsistence anglers from the Chinese, Cambodian, Latino, Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean and Pacific Islander communities. In addition, some of the contaminated fish have shown up in local markets for consumer purchase. The Fish Contamination Education Collaborative (FCEC) is an outreach and education project under the US-EPA with the following goals:

  1. To prevent exposures of populations eating fish caught from the Los Angeles and Orange County Coasts
  2. To conduct education with the most affected populations so they can make informed decisions about reducing health risks associated with consuming contaminated fish
  3. To strengthen the ability of local government and community based organizations to better address fish contamination issues now and in the future.

Using the Principles of Environmental Justice to design the project, 8 CBOs have received grants to plan and implement culturally appropriate programs to educate community members about fish contamination issues. CBOs have decision-making power and share in the planning, implemenation and evaluation of the project. The project encourages research to be community driven. Environmental Justice principles are the foundation of the four Project programs described below:

  1. Market Outreach: CBOs work with market owners to promote the purchase of fish from reputable sources, thereby reducing the possibility that conatminated fish is sold in markets.
  2. Pier Outreach: A community based environmental organization leads efforts to hire and train members of the most affected communities to become outreach workers to educate anglers on piers and shore sites.
  3. General Outreach: Community leaders and local health department staff are being trained to design and implement in-language fish contamination workshops within their communities.
  4. Media Outreach: CBOs receive media advocacy training to launch in-language radio, TV, and print ad campaigns.

The cornerstone of the project is a partnership between three local health departments, eight CBOs, several state and federal agencies, business associations and public institutions.

The above information is from the Fish Contamination Education Collaborative's website. For more information, please visit their website at http://www.pvsfish.org/

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