Goulais River, Ontario – SaultOnline have reported that the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks issued an advisory not to consume any Smelts caught south of Batchewana Bay to the St. Mary’s River headwaters (the Goulais Bay area) due to a toxin which has recently been detected in them called Toxaphene. The MECP’s Guide to Eating Ontario Fish for 2021 is advising that ZERO Rainbow Smelt caught in the Goulais Bay area be consumed, including traditional catch streams throughout Harmony and Havilland Bay.
Toxaphene is an extremely persistent insecticide in the aquatic environment and is a mixture of over 670 different chemicals, produced by reacting chlorine gas with camphene. It was removed from general use in Canada in 1974, restricted in the United States in 1982 and banned globally by the 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
Toxaphene was a widely used pesticide on cotton, other crops, and in livestock and poultry. It has been shown to cause adverse health effects in humans with the main sources of exposure through food, drinking water, breathing contaminated air, and direct contact with contaminated soil. Exposure to high levels of toxaphene can cause damage to the lungs, nervous system, liver, kidneys, and in extreme cases, may even cause death. It is also thought to be a potential carcinogen in humans, though this has not yet been proven.
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