Fish from Madison’s lakes contain contaminants that can pose adverse health effects to people who consume them. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has issued recommendations suggesting that people limit their consumption of fish caught in the lakes.
Yet those advisories may not be reaching everyone, especially low-income people and minority groups, who are more likely to eat fish from the city’s lakes. Moreover, programs to spread the word about the hazards have been limited or cut in response to limited resources.
“Given the hard economic times, I suspect more people than ever are fishing for food -- predominantly lower income and minority (people),” said Maria C. Powell, an environmental scientist and president of the advocacy group, Midwest Environmental Justice Organization. A recent rise in consumption may be leading to disparities in contaminant exposure, which can have long-term health consequences.