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Clarkson Scientists Monitoring Harmful Pollutants in Great Lakes Fish

[A photograph for media use is available at]

"Identifying the concentration levels of harmful pollutants, such as mercury or PCBs, in fresh-water lake fish is necessary for public health officials to develop appropriate and protective fish consumption advisories," says Thomas M. Holsen, professor of civil & environmental engineering at Clarkson University. greatlakes

Holsen is collaborating with a team of fellow researchers from Clarkson, as well as scientists and engineers from SUNY Fredonia and SUNY Oswego on a project to provide chemical analysis of Great Lakes fish tissue. The research is funded by a $1.75-million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes Fish Monitoring Program.

The goal of the five-year project is to assess accurate levels of mercury, PCBs, dioxin and other harmful chemicals in lake fish.

"The project will analyze approximately 110 samples per year," explains Holsen, who is the principal investigator for the project. "We'll also conduct a broad gas chromatography/mass spectrometry scan to identify currently unmeasured pollutants in the fish. Our findings should yield evidence that the scientific community can use to more accurately assess the risks of contaminants found on the health of the fish population itself and the wildlife that consumes them."

PHOTO CAPTION: Left to right, Professors Thomas Holsen and Philip Hopke, and Ph.D. student Xiaoyan Xia use specialized analytical equipment in Clarkson University's Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science to measure concentrations of a wide range of bioaccumulative toxic chemicals in Great Lakes fish. Their work is part of a five-year, $1.75-million grant from the U.S. EPA Great Lakes Fish Monitoring Program.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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