PCB Contamination In
Salmon In 5 Countries

From Patricia Doyle, PhD

Environmental pollution is a GLOBAL issue. The people of the earth need to get together on this issue and fight pollution.
Once the air, water, and soil is poisoned, Earth will simply be unliveable. When the environment is polluted and damaged in one area, it effects the entire Earth. What occurs in the Rainforest effects the entire planet, just as what occurs in the polar region effects the rainforest etc etc.
How can anyone read articles, like the one below and not understand that we are nearing the point of no return?
Of course institutions with "corporate interests" like Harvard will try to obfuscate the environmental issue and make it appear that those who warn about the environment have no basis for their concerns.
Patricia Doyle
A ProMED-mail post A program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases
Source The New York Times By Marian Burros 30 Jul 2003 [edited]
Americans consume so much salmon these days -- most of it farmed -- that it is now the third most popular fish in the country, after canned tuna and shrimp. It is one of those foods nutritionists say is good for you, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says you can eat as much of it as you like.
But a report released today by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental research and advocacy organization, says that 10 samples of farmed salmon bought at markets on the East and West Coasts were found to be contaminated with PCB's, or polychlorinated biphenyls, at an average level far higher than any other protein source, including all other seafood. The high levels do NOT exceed those set in 1984 by the FDA for commercially sold fish. But they are in excess of the guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1999 for recreationally caught fish. The salmon tested came from 5 countries, including Canada and the USA.
PCB's, an industrial byproduct identified as a probable human carcinogen, were banned by the USA in 1976. [If some of the contaminated salmon were produced in the USA, but PCB's have been banned there for over 25 years, where is the contamination coming from? - Mod.JW]
The study has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, but 2 previous peer-reviewed studies of farmed salmon found similarly high levels of PCB's. Responding to the fresh findings, Dr. Terry Troxell, a toxicologist in the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, (CFSAN) said, "Any time we have a standard that goes back to the 70's and 80's, it's time to review it."
If consumers applied the findings to the environmental agency's 1999 guidelines, they might be wary of eating farmed salmon more than once a month.
Farmed salmon accounts for 60 percent of the salmon consumed in the U.S. The EPA standards, which are far stricter than those used by the FDA, are used by states to issue weekly consumption advisories for recreational fishing. For example, New York State says that wild striped bass caught in Jamaica Bay should be eaten no more than once a week, based on average levels of PCB's in the fish. [Again, where are the PCB's in NY state waters coming from? - Mod.JW]
One sample in the farmed salmon study contained levels of PCB's so high that the EPA's advice would be to eat it no more than once every 2 months. The remaining 9 samples tested exceeded the agency's weekly recommendation. "Until we hear differently from the FDA, we would assume that theirs are the regulations we need to follow," said Alex Trent, acting director of Salmon of the Americas, an organization of 80 salmon farmers in the U.S., Canada and Chile. "We assume they know what they are doing, and the regulations and levels they have promulgated mean that the food, including farmed salmon, is safe, wholesome and nutritious. EPA and FDA should work out their differences.
A high-level EPA staff member said the environmental agency's recommendations "reflect the best science available to make recommendations to states for setting fish advisories." The guidelines will continue to be used, he said."
Kimberly Rawlings, a press officer for the FDA, said the FDA was considering updating its guidelines. "We are clearly aware of it and actively looking at the science to see whether the science dictates that it needs to be changed," she said.
The Environmental Working Group's study followed the analytical methods of the EPA, said Jane Houlihan, the group's research director. Each sample of farmed salmon, bought with its skin on, was cut into smaller pieces, ground up 3 times and mixed to homogenize the meat. A portion of the fish tissue was then extracted and analyzed for PCB's.
3 previous studies of farmed salmon found similarly high levels of PCB's: a study conducted at the University of Surrey in England of salmon bought in Scotland and Belgium and reported last year [2002] in the Journal Environmental Science and Technology, which is peer-reviewed; a government study for the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, reported in March 2002; and a study by Dr. Michael Easton of International EcoGenInc in British Columbia, Canada, reported in 2002 in the journal Chemosphere, also peer-reviewed.
The Easton study, and the one from the Environmental Working Group, found the level of PCB's in farmed salmon in the USA and Canada 5 to 10 times higher than those in wild salmon. The average levels of PCB's in wild salmon, according to the Environmental Working Group report, are about 5 parts per billion (ppb); in farmed salmon, they are about 27 ppb, far below the FDA levels of 2000 ppb. EPA guidelines say that if a person eats fish twice a week, it should contain no more than 4 to 6 ppb of PCB's.
The Environmental Working Group, based in Washington and financed by private foundations, used the seafood industry's fish consumption data to report how many Americans regularly eat salmon. About 25 percent of Americans eat salmon, they say; 23.1 million eat it more than once a month, 1.3 million people eat it once a week, and 180 000 eat it more than twice a week. From those figures, the organization conducted what it says is the first cancer risk assessment of exposure to PCB's from farmed salmon. The assessment estimates that 800 000 people face an increased lifetime cancer risk of more than one in 10 000 from eating farmed salmon, and 10.4 million people face an increased cancer risk exceeding one in 100 000.
Previous studies have shown that PCB levels in farmed salmon are higher than in wild salmon because of the fish meal they are fed. The meal, made mostly from ground small fish, has high levels of fish oil to fatten the salmon. PCB's concentrate in fats. An ounce of farmed salmon has 52 percent more fat than an ounce of wild salmon, the Department of Agriculture says. In June [2003], the National Academy of Sciences called for changes in fish farming and in human consumption to reduce exposure to PCB's.
"When, and if, the FDA changes its limits, we will be the first to comply," Mr. Trent said. "They haven't proven this point to the FDA yet. If they had, they would change their standards."
ProMED-mail <>
[The difference between the EPA regulations and those of the FDA reflect the period when the guidelines were set. There have been changes in science since the FDA guidelines were established. Furthermore, there have been changes in the diet of Americans, which should also be considered.
However, a study of 10 samples from 5 countries is not truly representative of the situation. This article also gives no indication of how the samples were selected, which may introduce bias into this study. It certainly raises some questions and points out the differences in the regulated levels of the different agencies; but without more research, the cause for alarm may be exaggerated. Mod.TG]
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at: Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health



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