Key Questions

The role of science in public policy is not to make decisions per se, but to provide clear interpretations of existing information relevant to key issues, and to project possible consequences of societal actions. After reviewing the science of the issue, we conclude that the decision of whether and how to clean up the PCBs in the Upper Hudson River hinges on four key questions:

1. Are the current levels of PCBs in the Upper Hudson River causing harm to the residents and environment of the Upper and Lower Hudson River?

2. Are the PCBs in the Upper Hudson River sediments an important continuing source of contamination to the Lower Hudson under average flow conditions?

3. What are the chances that a large quantity of the PCBs currently buried in the sediments of the Upper Hudson River will be released sometime in the future under extreme weather conditions?

4. Can active remediation be implemented in such a way that it provides a net long-term benefit to the Hudson River?

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