Superior chinook salmon over 22 inches long, which
contain PCBs up to 20 times the state health criteria
(MDCH 2002).
Open Great Lakes water monitoring also provides evidence
of on-going contamination problems due to minute
concentrations of persistent toxic substances.  Concentra-
tions of PCBs in the parts per quadrillion or picograms per
litre (pg/l) give rise to concentrations in fish that exceed
U.S. and state derived ambient water quality criteria to
protect public health and wildlife (U.S. EPA 1996).  As
shown below, all open waters of the Great Lakes have PCB
levels that are two to nine times the Great Lakes Initiative
water quality value for PCBs, now revised to 26 pg/l to
protect human health (U.S. EPA 1997b.  A value of 120 pg/l
60,900 pg/l;  in lower Green Bay, 17,800 pg/l; in upper
has been derived for ecological protection (U.S. EPA 1996;
Green Bay, 1,500 pg/l and are, respectively, about 2,340,
1997b).  In 1997,  monitoring cruises by the Lake Guardian
680 and 60 times the ambient water quality value in the
revealed the following ambient concentrations of PCBs in
Great Lakes Initiative to protect human health (WDNR/U.S.
the open waters of these respective lakes (U.S. EPA 2003a):
EPA, 2002).  The PCB levels in water are more than 500
Lake Superior - 53 pg/l
times the Great Lakes Initiative wildlife criteria in the Fox
Lake Michigan - 115 pg/l
River, 150 times higher in lower Green Bay, and 12 times
Lake Huron - 62 pg/l
higher in upper Green Bay.
Lake Erie - 216 pg/l
Lake Ontario - 106 pg/l
In order to achieve acceptable risks to persons and wildlife
consuming fish, reduce fish consumption advisories, and
reduce PCB loadings to Green Bay, U.S. EPA and the
Reducing Loadings of Persistent Toxic
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources plan to
remediate over six million cubic yards of PCB contaminated
sediments in the Fox River system, at a cost of approxi-
Both the U.S. and Canada are taking a variety of actions to
mately 400 million dollars (WDNR/U.S. EPA, 2002).
reduce inputs of PCBs and other persistent toxic chemicals
Evaluations are also underway to evaluate remedial actions
(Canada and U.S., 1997; U.S. EPA 2003b).  Significant PCB
in the Kalamazoo River, which contribute from 39 to 50 kg/
sediment sources in Areas of Concern contribute to PCB
year to Lake Michigan and have PCB water column values
levels in fish (U.S. PC 2002).  For example, the Fox River,
comparable to those found in the Fox River (MDEQ 2002).
the largest known surface water source of PCBs to the
Great Lakes, discharges from 125 to 220 kilograms of PCBs
per year to Green Bay, with a portion of this loading being
Policy Implications and Directions
transported to Lake Michigan (WDNR/U.S. EPA 2002).  PCB
based fish consumption advisories for the river and bay
To fully protect public health, continued and substantial
have been in place since 1976 (WDNR/U.S. EPA 2002).
efforts are required to reduce sources of PCBs and other
Nevertheless, several thousand people consume fish from
persistent toxic chemicals which contaminate waters, fish,
the river and bay (WDNR/U.S. EPA 2002).
and wildlife of the Great Lakes basin.  As stated in the 2002
U.S. Great Lakes Strategy (U.S. Policy Committee 2002):
PCB levels in the Fox Rivers and lower Green Bay are over a
“The people of the Great Lakes region will know when we
1,000 times the GLI ambient water quality criteria to
have been successful in our environmental protection
protect human health.  PCB water column values in the
efforts when the need to issue health advisories for fish
DePere to Green Bay portion of the Fox River average
consumption [has been] eliminated.”