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TAKE ACTION: Protect Kentucky’s Fish from Selenium Toxicity

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Recently, the Kentucky Division of Water attempted to sneak weakened selenium standards into their three-year review of water quality standards after the original 30-day public comment period. Kentuckians spoke up. Now the DOW has agreed to seek additional comments from the public on the selenium standards until March 1st.

Please tell the DOW to protect Kentucky’s aquatic resources from toxic selenium pollution.

The DOW has proposed to raise the acute standard for selenium in streams from 20 to 258 micrograms per liter, or even higher in some cases. The DOW has also proposed to replace the current chronic standard of five micrograms per liter in streams, with a measurement of the concentration of selenium in fish tissue. The current standards are supported by the EPA and scientific research, and should not be made less stringent.

Selenium is toxic to aquatic life even at very low levels. It bioaccumulates, meaning that it increases in concentration as it moves up the food chain, affecting fish and even aquatic birds. In fish, selenium toxicity can result in deformities and reproductive failure. Important Kentucky fish species, such as bluegill, sunfish and catfish, are particularly sensitive to selenium. At higher levels, selenium is toxic to people. Humans can be exposed to selenium through the water they drink and the fish they eat. Long-term exposure can damage the liver, kidneys, nervous system, and circulatory system.

Tell the DOW NOT to weaken Kentucky’s selenium water quality standards.

3 Responses to “TAKE ACTION: Protect Kentucky’s Fish from Selenium Toxicity”

  1. Lloyd Carter Says:

    If you want to see how California public officials have been ducking safe selenium standards in agriculture wastewater since the early 1980s, visit my website at and use the website search engine with the keyword selenium. It is a national disgrace. The U.S. Geological Survey has a “selenium library” website full of studies documenting the dangers of selenium to fish and wildlife. Just Google selenium library and USGS.
    Lloyd Carter
    Clovis, CA

  2. Minness Justice Says:

    West Virginia’s House of Delagates are in the process of sumitting a bill to allow the state to set it’s own selenium standards 10X higher than the EPA’s MCL. It is money, money, money, they want to let the coal industry do what ever they want, just to have jobs for a few more years. I hate coal, the coal industry will now destroy our water just as they our land.

  3. K Lucas Says:

    the coal Ind. doesn’t seem to care about anything but profit E P A has not done its job to protect air water or land let alone people they should be held accountable to

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