July 17, 2018

Lampricide standards tightened

Sea lamprey attached to a lake trout. Photo from U.S. Geological Survey, via Wikipedia

Sea lamprey attached to a lake trout. Photo from U.S. Geological Survey, via Wikipedia

By Mike Polhamus

For Vermont Digger

Federal officials are scrambling to secure a permit allowing the use of chemicals in three Vermont rivers to kill sea lampreys  — and they are running out of time.

With only a short window to apply the chemical, officials are trying to secure permission in time for this season. However, there are new standards that must be complied with first.

Studies have yet to firmly establish what risks the chemical — 3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenolor TFM — represents to human health. As a result the state toxicologist has recommended limiting its concentration in drinking water to detectable levels.

Observer courtesy photo by Vermont Fish and Wildlife Staff from Vermont Fish & Wildlife at the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station in Grand Isle process and evaluate salmon prior to using them to produce fertilized eggs for the state’s salmon restoration efforts.

Observer courtesy photo by Vermont Fish and Wildlife
Staff from Vermont Fish & Wildlife at the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station in Grand Isle process and evaluate salmon prior to using them to produce fertilized eggs for the state’s salmon restoration efforts.

The Vermont Department of Health recommended that the limit be set at 3 parts per billion this summer, down from 35 parts per billion recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since 2010.

The state set a lower ceiling on TFM concentrations because there is a paucity of reliable research on potential adverse human health effects, state toxicologist Sara Vose said. The last study was conducted in the 1970s and appears to be of questionable scientific validity, she said.

To read the full story, click here.

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