Protecting & Restoring Long Island's Peconic Bays

Toxic Contaminants

Toxic chemicals can concentrate in the aquatic environment and directly affect the ability of fish, shellfish, wildlife, and plants to survive and reproduce.

Toxic contaminants are either man made or naturally occurring substances that, when found in certain concentrations, can cause adverse ecosystem or human health effects. Within the estuary system, toxic substances can be found in surface waters and groundwater, attached to sediments and soils, and in plants and animals. Toxic chemicals can concentrate in the aquatic environment and directly affect the ability of fish, shellfish, wildlife, and plants to survive and reproduce. Some toxic chemicals can accumulate in the tissues of edible fish and shellfish, making them dangerous to wildlife and unsuitable for unrestricted human consumption. Pesticides harm more than pests – many pesticides are carcinogens and exposure can affect child development, pets and wild animals.

Lawn notice of pesticide application.

The Peconic Estuary system generally has low levels of toxic materials in the water, sediment and organisms, when compared to other regional coastal areas.  However, the use of pesticides and other industrial and household chemicals introduces toxic substances to the environment. Pharmaceuticals, and personal care products introduce contaminants to ground and surface waters through the waste stream. Additionally, Long Island’s legacy of agriculture and industrial uses has left toxic contaminants in the groundwater that are no longer in use.

To prevent toxic contamination in the estuary, look for alternatives to toxic products, and be sure to properly dispose of all cleaners, personal care products, medications, and household hazardous waste.  All towns in the Peconic Estuary Watershed hold designated S.T.O.P. (Stop Throwing Out Pollutants) days.  Please contact your local town hall for a list of S.T.O.P. dates.


Related Content

More Resources

Connect with Us

Sign up for News, Events and Information straight to your inbox.