Gowanus Canal Is Actually A Cancerous Stew: EPA

EPA: Gowanus Canal Is A Cancerous Stew

For the love of God, don't eat that Gowanus crab!

From the New York Post:

The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed today what everyone already suspected about the Gowanus Canal -- the beleaguered waterway is rife with a stew of cancer-causing chemicals and toxins that can endanger humans, animals, and the environment.

The not-so-shocking results are the first phase of a federal investigation into just what makes the 1.8-mile waterway so fetid, and, more important, where the gunk is coming from.

The study foreshadows the upcoming $500-million clean-up of the canal, which was named a Superfund site last year.

EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck said the canal poses serious risks to the public.

"The contamination ... is widespread and may threaten people's health, particularly if they eat fish or crabs from the canal or have repeated contact with the canal water or sediment." Enck said. "The level of contamination is so severe that I don't feel comfortable saying that when we're done, it will be fishable or swimmable."

The next step is for the EPA to determine how it will clean the canal, and transform it into "a revitalized urban waterway," Enck said.

The investigation found that the canal is host to several contaminates, including two suspected carcinogens. Various metals, including mercury, lead and copper, were also detected at high levels.

Aquatic life that swims in the canal, including striped bass, eel, white perch and blue crab, are also at risk for health problems, as are the birds that eat them, the study found.

Manufactured gas plants that once populated the area around the canal are largely responsible for its toxic condition, according to the study.

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