Superfund Research Program

July 2020

A new nine-part, multilingual video series delivers critical fish consumption information to Seattle communities who fish the contaminated Duwamish River for food, recreation, and cultural reasons.

Location of the Superfund site on the Lower Duwamish River.

Location of the Superfund site on the Lower Duwamish River.
(Photo courtesy of Image courtesy of UW)

The University of Washington (UW) NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center produced the videos in partnership with the Duwamish Community Health Advocates, Public Health–Seattle & King County, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

A legacy of industrial activity has polluted the river with a range of chemicals, including polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins and furans, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and arsenic. In 2001, a five mile stretch of the lower Duwamish River was declared a federal Superfund site by the U.S. EPA.

“Community organizations have been advocating for effective health communication about fishing in the Duwamish River for nearly 20 years,” said BJ Cummings, manager of the UW SRP Community Engagement Core. “We’re very grateful to our partners for helping the community achieve this key tool to inform and empower the river’s multilingual fishing families.”

The videos advise fishers not to eat resident fish, which spend their entire lives in the Duwamish River and are more likely to contain harmful chemicals. Salmon, which only spend a short time in the river, are the healthier choice.

The video series covers a range of topics, including an introduction to salmon fishing, how much salmon is safe to eat, and how to prepare and cook various salmon dishes. To meet the needs of the area’s culturally diverse fishing community, they are available in Spanish, Vietnamese, and Khmer, the official language of Cambodia.

UW SRP will disseminate the videos with a curriculum developed in partnership with Duwamish community-based organizations.