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The persistence of PCBs and their ability to bioaccumulate pose a significant risk to individuals’ health. Lower income people, who are more likely to live near PCB contamination sites such as industrial parks, waste sites, and other dumping sites, are disproportionately impacted by the risk of harmful PCB exposure. Low-income communities are also more likely to be neglected by governmental protections and environmental regulations and monitoring. Low-income pregnant people and their developing fetuses are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of PCBs. A 2010 study found that maternal socioeconomic status is likely an indicator of the effects of exposure to PCBs among pregnant Black women. Additionally, both epidemiological studies and animal experiments suggest that the developing fetus is particularly vulnerable to the effects of in utero PCB exposure. Indigenous communities are also at a greater risk of exposure to toxic agents, and particularly PCBs. The Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne had significant PCB exposure because of a hazardous waste site upstream from tribal lands. In 1986, Mohawk people were instructed to stop eating fish from their river because of elevated PCBs. Three years later, breastfeeding mothers still had significantly higher levels of PCBs in their breast milk. Similarly, one study found that for reservations in New Mexico and South Dakota “PCB levels [were] 25,000 times the standard for human health and 1,000 times over the standard for wildlife habitat.” 

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