Questionable Cleanup

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A July 7, 2005 letter to the editor cited ACSH on PCBs:

Regarding the July 3 article "Soil still toxic 25 years later":

There is no need to foment hysteria over the presence of PCBs in Lake Crabtree. PCBs were banned because they are long-lasting and are taken up in the bodies of fish. That was enough to cause alarm in the growing environmental movement in the 1960s. According to information from the American Council on Science and Health, the triggering incident occurred in 1968 in Yusho, Japan, when 1,300 people developed a skin rash after eating rice that had been contaminated with a fluid that contained not only PCBs but also quarterphenyls and polychlorinated dibenzofurans, which are very toxic. There were complaints of fatigue, nausea, swelling in the extremities, and liver disorders, but the people got well and no further harm has been demonstrated.

If PCBs were as toxic as the alarmists claim it is curious that this contamination has gone unnoticed for twenty-five years. If this situation scares some people enough to want to spend $20 million to clean it up, let them spend their money -- not mine.

Gregory D. McGann

Raleigh

Editor's note: According to information in the article, signs at Lake Crabtree County Park warn people not to eat catfish or carp caught in the lake because they contain PCBs.