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First-Ever U.S. Tests of Farmed Salmon Show High Levels of Cancer-Causing PCBs... 40 times higher than other foods!

"Scottish and Irish farmed salmon were found to have the highest levels of PCBs of all salmon tested."  EWG 2003

July 30, 2003

Lauren Sucher, Liz Moore EWG, (202) 667-6982

"These first-ever tests of farmed salmon from U.S. grocery stores show that farmed salmon are likely the most PCB-contaminated protein source in the U.S. food supply. On average farmed salmon have 16 times the dioxin-like PCBs found in wild salmon, 4 times the levels in beef, and 3.4 times the dioxin-like PCBs found in other seafood. The levels found in these tests track previous studies of farmed salmon contamination by scientists from Canada, Ireland, and the U.K. In total, these studies support the conclusion that American consumers nationwide are exposed to elevated PCB levels by eating farmed salmon."

"About 23 million Americans eat salmon more than once a month, the majority of it farmed salmon. One salmon imported from Scotland contained PCBs at levels so high that the EPA would restrict consumption to no more than six meals a year, if the salmon were caught, not bought."

Full Environmental Working Group Report CLICK HERE



Analysis of Fish Consumption Data Shows 800,000 U.S. Adults Eat Enough PCBs From Farmed Salmon to Exceed Allowable Lifetime Cancer Risk 100 Times Over

Advice to Consumers: Eat Wild Alaskan Salmon

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Working Group (EWG) today released results of the most extensive tests to date of cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) levels in farmed salmon consumed in the United States. EWG bought the salmon from local grocery stores and found seven of 10 fish were so contaminated with PCBs that they raise cancer-risk concerns, relative to health standards of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Salmon farming has made salmon the third most popular fish in America — and comprises 22 percent of all retail seafood counter sales. However, EWG analysis of government data also found that farmed salmon are likely the most PCB-contaminated protein source in the current U.S. food supply.

EWG analysis of state-of-the-art fish consumption data derived from 20,000 adults from 1990 through 2002 shows that roughly 800,000 US adults are 100 times over their lifetime allowable cancer risk by eating this contaminated salmon.

PCBs were banned in the U.S. in the late 1970s and are among the “dirty dozen” chemical contaminants slated for global phase-out under the UN treaty on persistent organic pollutants. PCBs are highly persistent, and they have been linked to cancer and impaired fetal brain development.

Farmed salmon are fattened with ground fishmeal and fish oils that are high in PCBs. As a result, salmon farming operations that produce inexpensive fish unnaturally concentrate PCBs and have a higher fat content. Farmed salmon contains 52 percent more fat than wild salmon, according to USDA data.

Wild Alaskan salmon eat Pacific Ocean fish that are naturally lower in persistent pollutants, and they carry less fat than farmed salmon.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has control over store-bought fish, uses PCB safety standards set in 1984. For recreationally caught fish, the EPA employs a more recent standard that reflects current scientific concerns about PCBs and is 500 times safer than the FDA's.

“FDA could not have predicted the rise of the farmed salmon industry when it set its PCB safety standard decades ago,” said EWG Vice President for Research Jane Houlihan. “The industry’s growth has been rapid and unexpected, but it is having a real public health consequence.”

EWG called for more resources to be given to the FDA so it can move quickly to conduct a study of PCB contamination in farmed salmon - and make all the results public. This testing is critical, because FDA will be unable to act to lower public exposure to PCBs in farmed salmon until they conduct these studies. Congress should also pass a funding increase for FDA to support this testing.

In the meantime, EWG recommends that consumers choose wild instead of farmed salmon, and they should eat an eight-ounce serving of farmed salmon no more than once a month. Consumers should also trim fat from the fish before cooking - and choose broiling, baking, or grilling over frying, as these cooking methods allow the PCB-laden fat to cook off the fish.

Wild salmon dominated the market just ten years ago. Now, six of every 10 salmon fillets sold in stores and restaurants are from fish raised in high-density pens in the ocean, managed and marketed by the salmon farming industry. Before salmon farming, PCB exposure was declining, but the trend is now being reversed due to farmed fish.

“When Congress banned PCBs in 1976, no one contemplated that 20-odd years later we would have invented a new industry that re-concentrates these toxins in our bodies,” said Houlihan.

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From  www.gristmagazine.com

Arctic Natives, Minding Own Business, Suffer From Our Pollutants

Toxic industrial chemicals, carried north by wind, ocean, and river currents, are polluting the traditional diet of native Arctic peoples in Greenland and Arctic Canada. The pollutants, including PCBs and up to 200 other hazardous compounds, are first consumed by zooplankton, then travel up the food chain to the ocean-dwelling mammals -- whales, seals, and walruses -- hunted by Arctic natives according to centuries-old traditions.

At this point, concentrations of chemicals and pesticides in the bodies of Greenland's Inuit are so high that their tissues can be classified as hazardous waste. Their breast milk is contaminated as well, leading to widespread immune-system and neurological problems among their children. Public health officials are torn about what advice to offer, since -- absent
our toxic crap -- the native diet is quite healthy, and regardless, there is no infrastructure to support importing large amounts of (less healthy) Western foods. Arctic native culture is built around hunting, so a change in diet would also have substantial implications
for their cultural survival.

straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Marla Cone, 13 Jan 2004




www.Health-Report.co.uk  comment:

As if we didn't have enough to worry about trying to stay clear of toxic chemicals in our food and toiletries without this added burden of PCBs on our immune systems from the foods we eat. When are vested interests going to stop putting the almighty dollar first and start caring about the health of people they are destroying with their toxic chemicals. The atrocious poisoning of the indigenous people in Canada and Greenland is probably happening so far away from the cocooned world of big business that no-one cares about them.

Isn't it about time you started making a statement. Use you feet to walk to the nearest organic supplier and/or local farmers market or your fingers to explore the Internet for safe choices. It's only when our buying patterns reflect on the profits of these large unconscionable organizations that we can start to see a change in the world and the misery they, BIG BUSINESS and BIG FOOD, are inflicting, ultimately on us all!

PCBs are amongst the most deadly toxic substances that man has ever made in his chemical laboratories. Here they are - returning nearly thirty years after they were banned - in our food supplies now!

Where and when is this chemical madness going to end? When WE ALL HAVE CANCER?

Geoff Goldie

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