Ignorance Is Bliss — and Cancerous

The Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper describes how the state of Georgia will spend settlement money from a company that dumped PCBs into a stream for 20 years.

Link: Lake Hartwell: Anglers’ paradise or peril? | ajc.com

The state [Georgia] plans to spend millions of dollars to make Lake Hartwell more fishing-friendly, but state officials won’t spend another dime telling anglers at the northeast Georgia reservoir that eating their catch could lead to cancer.

Toxic chemicals from a plant that once operated nearby still rest on the bottom of Lake Hartwell. They move up the food chain to the bass and catfish, posing a cancer risk to those who eat them on a regular basis.

Lake Hartwell’s changes will be funded by a $3.7 million settlement the state reached with Schlumberger Technology Corp., owner of the Pickens, S.C., manufacturing plant that for more than 20 years dumped carcinogenic polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, into a stream that flowed into the lake.

The state plans to use the money to build boat ramps and fishing piers to entice even more visitors to Hartwell, already one of the most popular federal lakes in the country. Georgia also is spending other state funds to add more hybrid and striped bass to the lake — fatty-fleshed game fish that absorb and retain the most PCBs.

That might give anglers pause if they knew about it. But the state no longer posts warning signs around Lake Hartwell, although officials in neighboring South Carolina have signs on their side of the water.