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November 05, 2012
Report Authored by Brattle Economists Analyzes Fish Consumption from the Portland Harbor

A report authored by Brattle principal David Sunding and associate Steven Buck presents initial results of a study examining fish consumption patterns in the Willamette River of Portland Harbor. The study, “Fish Consumption in Portland Harbor,” is a follow-up to a prior Brattle study that analyzed the costs and benefits associated with the Superfund cleanup of Oregon’s Portland Harbor. The current study, the first to estimate the number of fish consumed from the 11-mile industrial harbor and the amount of people fishing there, comes as politicians and business leaders are increasingly putting pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to keep cleanup costs low in the harbor. Fish consumption is a particularly important consideration, as it drives the EPA's risk calculations, which in turn drive the cleanup goals and the ultimate costs of remediation. The report finds that roughly 7,800 people eat contaminated fish caught in the polluted Portland Harbor each year, and roughly 4,800 consume the fish at or above levels recommended by state health officials. The estimated cost of cleanup of the harbor, which factors in the increased risks to human health as a result of the consumption of contaminated fish, ranges from roughly $200 million to more than $1.7 billion. The full report is available for download below.