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Freshwater fish more contaminated with ‘forever chemicals’ than in oceans


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Home Forums General Forums Environmental Issues Freshwater fish more contaminated with ‘forever chemicals’ than in oceans

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  • #3770638
    BlackHatGuy
    Spectator

    @sleeping

    Locale: The Cascades

    “Study also says eating one serving of fish with PFAS could be equivalent to drinking contaminated water every day for a month”

    “Wild caught, freshwater fish in the United States are far more contaminated with toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” than those commercially caught in oceans, and the highest levels are found in fish from the Great Lakes, a new analysis of federal data suggests.

    The peer-reviewed study by public health advocate Environmental Working Group (EWG) also found eating one serving of US freshwater fish contaminated with median PFAS levels could be equivalent to drinking highly contaminated water every day for a month.”

    More here.

    Note: I thought I read about this in a post here, but couldn’t find it, so creating this thread.

    #3770854
    Nick Gatel
    BPL Member

    @ngatel

    Locale: Southern California

    See . . . I keep telling you cheeseburgers and tacos are the best foods ;-)

     

    Only thing is PFAS pollution in probably in the water and soil which will make its way into just about anything we eat.

    #3770871
    Justin W
    Spectator

    @light2lighter

    True, but it is relative. Most edible plants/plant based foods have short lives compared to most animals and will only build up so much toxicity within their individual lifetime.  On land, animals consume plants etc which have these toxins in them, while also living significantly longer, and so it builds up to higher levels in them. In the water, fish often consume other fish or other animals which have these toxins in them and it builds up to even higher levels.

    And in turn, it seems like a lot of toxins are both fat soluble and fat binding in nature.

    If a person sticks to plants, over time, there will be a lot less exposure to various environmental toxins as compared to eating animals where it is concentrated.

    There is an interesting dichotomy going on of late.  Human lifetimes, especially in the west, have lengthened due to improvement in hygiene, medicine, increased amount and variety of food, etc.   Yet, of late, increase in chronic disease seems to be ever on the rise.  There are probably many different influencing factors to the latter.  Perhaps one of them is increased environmental toxins?

    #3770873
    W I S N E R !
    Spectator

    @xnomanx

    If a person sticks to plants, over time, there will be a lot less exposure to various environmental toxins as compared to eating animals where it is concentrated.

    well, that may be true of purely organic plants, but given the fact that less than 2% of all American agriculture is organic, this does nothing to address pesticide exposure. Read up on some of the recent successful lawsuits linking Roundup with a myriad of serious health issues.

    while I have absolutely no doubt that environmental toxins and pollution affect our health, good luck establishing causal relationships. Did you get that cancer because of the air you breathe or because of what’s in the food you eat? Now prove it… it’s clear to me that major chemical polluters exploit this ambiguity on a regular basis.

     

    #3770881
    Justin W
    Spectator

    @light2lighter

    well, that may be true of purely organic plants, but given the fact that less than 2% of all American agriculture is organic, this does nothing to address pesticide exposure. Read up on some of the recent successful lawsuits linking Roundup with a myriad of serious health issues…

    I suspect that if you compared a purely plant based diet that is high in primarily non organic foods, compared to a diet high in organic and/or wild caught animal foods, there would likely be still somewhat higher levels of toxins in the latter on average.  This is because the difference between plants and animals is that much exponential in nature due to accumulation over time and respective amount of plant food involved.

    Meanwhile, in say the US, it is estimated that about 5% of the population is vegetarian and only about 2% is vegan. These are minor subsets of the population. And people within these fairly rare groups, tend to be more health conscious than the average American to begin with. Hence, more likely to buy organic, natural, and the like. And organic plant based foods tend to be cheaper than organic animal foods on average.

    I’m not advocating either vegetarianism nor veganism btw.  I’m neither, and I don’t believe people need to go to extremes to foster/facilitate and maintain health.  I’m just saying that limiting animal foods due to environmental toxin accumulation issues, is probably a good thing.  And of course this is relative.  If you say live in Alaska or certain parts of Canada, probably doesn’t apply near as much as it does to the rest of the population.

    (And yes, I’m aware of the roundup issues linked to leaky gut, autoimmune issues, etc).

    One way to limit exposure to environmental toxins in animal foods (outside of living in more pristine areas and hunting/fishing your own food), is to consume higher amounts of low to no fat versions  This is because many of these toxins (and also hormones incidentally) are fat soluble and binding in nature. For example, I eat cow milk yogurt that is organic and no fat (it then often gets mixed with plant foods that have fat in it, such as avocado/guac or the like).  This reduces my exposure to toxins and also estrogenic hormones (there was at least one study that linked high cow dairy consumption to lower testosterone levels in males. Not sure if it was a good study or not though, it’s been awhile since I looked at the particulars).

    And some animal foods have less toxins in them innately due to their size, diets, areas found in, and/or lifespans.  For example, when I eat fish, I very often stick to only certain kinds, such as sardines, Wild Alaskan salmon/pollock/cod. But I don’t eat a lot of it to begin with. (And generally, more in the colder part of the year and less in the hotter part of the year, because I’ve noticed that high protein makes me run hotter and also makes me more susceptible to colds/infections).

    Anyways, all the above to say, I still think the issue is pretty relative.

    #3770885
    W I S N E R !
    Spectator

    @xnomanx

    I’ll be honest…and this is not to downplay the article Doug posted or any of what you’re discussing Justin…

    …but I simply don’t have the bandwidth to concern myself with the toxins that may or may not be in my food. It’s a deep, deep rabbit hole, and one I have little control over…or more accurately, one that takes way too much energy to control and would also require giving up some things I’m deeply connected to. I think the three biggest killers are likely pretty simple: excess refined sugars, excess refined carbohydrates, and physical inactivity. Simply fighting these 3 demons takes most of my energy.

    Regarding the OP, sad testament to the state of the world, but I can’t say I eat much freshwater fish anyhow. Trout when I’m in the Sierra, tilapia seldomly…but I do go pretty hard on the saltwater fish and currently have about 10 pounds of yellowtail and yellowfin tuna (caught myself) left in the freezer right now. I love sardines and mackerel and eat a good deal of reef fish from my local spearfishing (perch, sheephead, calico bass). Well aware of the issues with saltwater fish, especially pelagics.

    But I’m not giving it up anytime soon ; )

     

     

    #3770893
    Justin W
    Spectator

    @light2lighter

    “…But I’m not giving it up anytime soon ; ) ”

    Yes, well I did eat a quite rare tuna steak recently at a restaurant, so while I’m pretty strict with diet, I’m not super strict all the time.

    I just wish the stuff didn’t taste so dang good. It would be even easier to avoid if didn’t.

    #3770895
    W I S N E R !
    Spectator

    @xnomanx

    And go figure, a long, healthy life may have a whole lot more to do with your relationships and mental well-being than the toxins in your food:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/01/harvard-happiness-study-relationships/672753/

     

    #3770973
    AK Granola
    BPL Member

    @granolagirlak

    Just sad, that we’ve done so much damage to our planet. Catching a fish out of any water should be the most healthy, protein-rich food. Shame that it is now something to limit. But I have to agree with:
    “excess refined sugars, excess refined carbohydrates, and physical inactivity. Simply fighting these 3 demons takes most of my energy”

    I feel like I’ve lived an amazingly privileged long life (58) and if a few glasses of wine or a plate of fresh walleye finish me off, so be it.

    #3790710
    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member

    @danepacker

    Locale: Mojave Desert

    Here in Henderson, Nevada, on the Colorado River (Lake Meade) I run our drinking and cooking water thru a reverse osmosis filter whose membrane is – uh, made of, er, plastic.

    Did I mention TINSTAAFL?

    #3790719
    DWR D
    BPL Member

    @dwr-2

    “I think the three biggest killers are likely pretty simple: excess refined sugars, excess refined carbohydrates, and physical inactivity.”

    Er… Smoking and Alcohol ?

    #3790728
    David Thomas
    BPL Member

    @davidinkenai

    Locale: North Woods. Far North.

    Justin, “I’m not super strict all the time.”  Moderation in all things, including moderation.

    Eric: I’ve worked on cleaning up perchlorate contamination in Henderson.  Not from the PEPCON explosion (always a cool video – up there with the ODOT exploding a whale) but from the historic manufacturing site closer to Lake Mead (which went over guidance levels for perchlorate in drinking water) by inflowing groundwater.  Sometimes, “the solution to pollution is dilution” isn’t enough.

    Back to PFAs – chemicals that bioaccumulate tend to be fat soluble and therefore retaining in an animal’s fat at much higher levels than in the source waters.

    And fresh water versus salt?  Lakes are a lot shallower than the ocean (average depth = 2 miles) and lakes receive runoff from a massively larger watershed, versus the ocean that receive runoff from a land area 1/3 the size of the oceans themselves.

    #3790732
    Eric B
    BPL Member

    @eb

    > Back to PFAs – chemicals that bioaccumulate tend to be fat soluble and therefore retaining in an

    > animal’s fat at much higher levels than in the source waters.

    There are lots of surprises with PFAS compared to most other environmental contaminants. Although the above is a good rule of thumb, it is not the case for PFAS; in fact they tend to accumulate in high-protein tissue like blood, kidneys, lungs, etc.

    (e.g. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23892228/, an older reference but the first one I found in a quick search).

    Fish can biomagnify PFAS 100-1000 times above water levels. Here’s a local example with some data: https://dec.alaska.gov/spar/csp/sites/north-pole-refinery/documents/pfas-fact-sheet-fish-kimberly-lake/

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