What about PCBs?

While researching possible activities in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, I found out that the Housatonic River has PCBs from dumping by GE years ago. Obviously one would not want to eat fish caught in that river. What is the danger if one would fall in the water, or just get exposed to the water via a typical paddling trip, ie feet in the water, drops on a paddle, etc?

minimal to none
Fish live there, and particularly those that eat other fish, bioaccumulate the heavy metals and PCBs and such. But even so, it is often ok to eat some of these fish every month.

Getting a little water in your mouth, swimming in the water, etc, would have little or no impact on a person. Just not enough concentration to hurt someone.

Those types of chemicals are primarily
found in sediment, so keep the mud out of your mouth.

It’s a favorite for many paddlers
Watch out for the ones that glow

Seriously look at the Housatonic River Watershed Authority website that describes the rivers history and addresses PCB ’ s in detail. You will see that is not a problem for paddlers

If you use the State Launces you will need a Clean Boat Certificate

HRVA website tells you the process

Try not to drink much of it of it
What PCB’s remain are only going to be an issue if you ingest a lot of them.