Your fish may con­tain toxic chem­i­cals

Swazi Observer - - FEATURES & OPINION -

EAT­ING rasp­ber­ries could help in­crease the chances of be­com­ing a fa­ther, it was claimed in 2013.

They con­tain high lev­els of Vi­ta­min C, a key nu­tri­ent in male fer­til­ity, and mag­ne­sium, which is in­volved in the pro­duc­tion of testos­terone.They are also thought to pro­tect sperm from ‘ox­ida­tive stress’.

A study by the US De­part­ment of En­ergy’s Lawrence Berke­ley Na­tional Lab­o­ra­tory found that men over 44 with the high­est in­take of Vi­ta­min C had 20 per cent less dam­age to their sperm DNA than men who did not eat those foods.

... Study re­veals farm­ers are feed­ing salmon banned sub­stances - and it could end up on your plate

SALMON in su­per­mar­kets across the US and the UK may con­tain banned toxic chem­i­cals linked with de­vel­op­men­tal prob­lems in chil­dren, a new study warns.

While we are all en­cour­aged to eat wild-caught fish, many end up with farmed pro­duce - and some stores have even been ac­cused of putting 'wild' la­bels on farmed fish.

As a re­sult, since 2004 the US and most of Europe have been work­ing to elim­i­nate a cer­tain chem­i­cal called PDBE from all waters - of both farmed and wild fish - be­cause they can dis­rupt hor­mones and cause de­vel­op­men­tal ef­fects in the peo­ple who con­sume them.

How­ever, a new study by the Uni­ver­sity of Pitts­burgh has found ev­i­dence of PBDEs in food fed to farmed salmon - even in those in sup­pos­edly PBDE-free en­vi­ron­ments.

The chem­i­cals were de­tected at such high con­cen­tra­tions that lead au­thor Dr Carla Ng warns it could be reach­ing our plates.

The Uni­ver­sity of Pitts­burgh study found that farm­ers are us­ing feed that con­tains a type of syn­thetic flame re­tar­dant im­ported from coun­tries “with­out ad­vanced food safety reg­u­la­tions' 'The in­ter­na­tional food trade sys­tem is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly global in na­ture and this ap­plies to animal feed as well,” Dr Ng said.

“Fish farm­ing oper­a­tions may im­port their feed or feed in­gre­di­ents from a num­ber of coun­tries, in­clud­ing those with­out ad­vanced food safety reg­u­la­tions.” Dr Carla Ng, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of civil and en­vi­ron­men­tal engi­neer­ing at the Uni­ver­sity of Pitts­burgh's Swanson School of Engi­neer­ing, said: 'The United States and much of Europe banned sev­eral PBDEs in 2004 be­cause of en­vi­ron­men­tal and pub­lic health con­cerns.'PBDEs can act as en­docrine dis­rup­tors and cause de­vel­op­men­tal ef­fects. Chil­dren are par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble.”

Re­stric­tions were placed on PDBEs in 2004. But, de­spite re­stric­tions on their use, PBDEs were classed as 'per­sis­tent or­ganic pol­lu­tants' at the Stock­holm Con­ven­tion, an in­ter­na­tional en­vi­ron­men­tal treaty, in 2009.

Dr Ng's pa­per said they con­tinue to be found in ar­eas that process large amounts of elec­tronic waste and with poor re­cy­cling reg­u­la­tion such as China, Thailand and Viet­nam.

As a re­sult, salmon grown in en­vi­ron­ments free of poly­bromi­nated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) could still con­tain dan­ger­ous amounts of the chem­i­cal as a re­sult, ac­cord­ing to the find­ings.Farm­ers, Dr Ng warns, could be us­ing feed that con­tains a type of syn­thetic flame re­tar­dant im­ported from coun­tries 'with­out ad­vanced food safety reg­u­la­tions'.

Her pa­per, which pre­sented new mod­els on how the chem­i­cal en­ters food chains, shows it could also af­fect feed for cat­tle and sheep as well.

Con­ven­tional mod­els to pre­dict hu­man ex­po­sure to pol­lu­tants mostly look peo­ple's risk from their lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment.

But Dr Ng's model takes into ac­count fac­tors to find 'the best pre­dic­tor' of PBDEs in farmed salmon.

These in­cluded pol­lu­tants in­haled through gills, how the fish me­tab­o­lized and elim­i­nated pol­lu­tants, and the con­cen­tra­tion of pol­lu­tants in the feed. She said: 'We found that feed is rel­a­tively less im­por­tant in ar­eas that al­ready have high con­cen­tra­tions of pol­lu­tants in the en­vi­ron­ment. “How­ever, in oth­er­wise clean and well-reg­u­lated en­vi­ron­ments, con­tam­i­nated feed can be thou­sands of times more sig­nif­i­cant than the lo­ca­tion of the farm for de­ter­min­ing the PBDE content of salmon fil­lets.”

She added the model could be ap­plied in other fish with large global mar­kets such as tilapia or red snap­per and to pre­dict pol­lu­tant content in live­stock or feeds pro­duced in con­tam­i­na­tion 'hot spots.'

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