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Fish in the Columbia Slough contain polychorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and pesticides. These chemicals may affect human development, reproduction, and immune systems, and may increase your chance of getting cancer.
People in these groups should avoid eating resident fish from the Columbia Slough and instead eat migratory fish like salmon and steelhead.
Even though the concentrations of PCBs and pesticides in slough fish are fairly low, they still pose a health risk because:
Eating fish regularly with these chemicals over time may:
Click here to watch an eight-minute video about catching and eating fish from the Columbia Slough.
Click here to watch a one minute video about the proper way to prepare fish for cooking.
Yes, there are many places to fish in Oregon that may be safer to harvest fish from. However, there are fish consumption advisories all over the state. Click here or call 1-877-290-6767 to see if the water you plan to fish has an advisory.
Harmful chemicals enter rivers and water bodies through storm water running off of roads, parking lots, houses, and lawns. Pollutants also come from business, industry, and farm fields.
No. Fish are good for your heart and brain. Both are low in fat, high in protein, and rich in nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3's provide protection from heart disease and are an important brain food for you, your children, and your unborn child.
Fish consumption guidelines are designed to help you gain these health benefits while protecting you and your family from contaminants found in fish. The key is to make smart choices, and choose fish that are low in mercury, PCBs, and other contaminants. In general, younger, smaller fish have fewer contaminants.
For more ideas on healthy fish preparation, download the What A Catch! Cookbook. (PDF Document 611kb)
For health-related questions, contact the Oregon Public Health Division’s Office of Environmental Public Health at 1-877-290-6767.
For Smith and Bybee Lake questions, contact Metro at 503-797-1700.
Portland’s Environmental Services is working with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to investigate and eliminate sources of fish contamination in the Columbia Slough.
For several years, Environmental Services has studied contaminants in both the water and sediments of the Columbia Slough. In 2000, Environmental Services finished building the Columbia Slough Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) projects, which eliminated CSOs to the slough. The city is working on many other projects to improve water quality and fish habitat in the slough. They include: