This story was originally published by Grist and is reproduced here as a part of the Climate Desk collaboration. For generations, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community has made its home along the shores of Michigan’s Lake Superior, developing a culture and livelihood closely tied to the waterbody, the largest freshwater lake by surface area in the world. Species such as salmon, lake trout, and walleye play a key role in the subsistence fishing tribe’s day-to-day life. In the last few decades, however, pollutants like mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, have put fishing cultural traditions at risk in the Great Lakes. Now, scientists are warning there’s a new threat—PFAS, a group of man-made toxic substances also known as “forever chemicals” found in everyday household items. Similar to DDT in the 1950s and 60s, PFAS compounds increase in concentration as they move up the food chain. For the first time, officials in Michigan and Wisconsin have issued a fish consumption advisory for PFAS in the Great Lakes. The chemicals, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, bioaccumulate in the environment—similar to DDT in the 1950s and 60s—building in concentration as they move up the food chain. They have been linked to health […]


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