CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – Croton residents may see new signs warning sport fishermen against eating Hudson River marine life.
"Fish and crabs from these waters contain chemicals and may be harmful to eat, especially for women and children," read signs available in English, Spanish and Chinese. Another reads, "Some fish and crabs from these waters may be harmful to eat."
One of three proposed signs warns that women under 50 and children under 15 "should not eat ANY fish or crabs from the Hudson River from the Corinth Dam to the Battery."
All three are messages from the New York State Department of Health warning of possible health effects from eating fish or crabs contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls, known as PCBs, from a superfund site in the north Hudson River, near Fort Edward, N.Y.
The Croton Board of Trustees is likely to refer the matter to the Advisory Board on the Visual Environment before bringing any proposed resolutions to vote. Although most trustees expressed support for signs disseminating what amounts to a public service announcement, some worried that they would be ignored in the already cluttered waterfront parks.
"I would bet that most of the people we get are going to come back, and once they read the sign, they read the sign, but the sign is going to be there forever," said Trustee Ann Gallelli.
Agreeing, Trustee Ian Murtaugh said, "I'm wary of having too many signs," and asked if the signs could have "judicious placement."
"I can't see any real reason to be against this," said Trustee Casey Raskob. "Seems like a common-sense thing to put up. A lot of people are going to be coming here from somewhere else. It's not like they're going to be scrolling on the New York [Department of Environmental Conservation] website."
The superfund site near the Fort Edward Dam is being dredged under the supervision of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
In a report prepared for Congress on the cancer-causing effects of PCBs, the EPA noted that "PCBs also have significant ecological and human health effects other than cancer, including neurotoxicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, immune system suppression, liver damage, skin irritation, and endocrine disruption. Toxic effects have been observed from acute and chronic exposures to PCB mixtures with varying chlorine content."
The chemicals were used by General Electric Co. in the Fort Edward area as an insulator and coolant in electrical equipment, such as transformers.