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Flame Retardants Found in Salmon Meat

Farmed salmon, already found to carry higher levels than wild salmon of chemicals such as PCBs, may also contain higher levels of flame retardants, environmental researchers said on Wednesday.
However, some wild salmon also carry high levels of the chemicals in their flesh and some wild Chinook have the highest levels of all, the team at Indiana University reported.


Writing in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, the researchers said they tested salmon meat for polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs, which are used widely as flame-retardant additives in electronics and furniture.


Like PCBs and dioxin, they can build up in the flesh of animals and are especially high in carnivores.


Indiana University's Ronald Hites and colleagues measured PBDEs in 700 samples of farmed and wild salmon from around the world. The same team reported in January that they found high levels of chemicals in farmed salmon and blamed the "salmon chow" fed to the fish.


Salmon chow is a mixture of ground-up fish and oil fed to farm-raised salmon and scientists think it may be more likely to contain contaminated fish than the variety of foods eaten by wild salmon.


There is disagreement over whether PBDEs are dangerous. But Hites said he would be concerned.


"If you're a chemist and you draw the structure, they look a lot like PCBs," he said in a statement.


PCBs can cause cancer and reproductive, neurological and developmental defects.


In September 2003, the Environmental Working Group, which reports on levels of chemicals in the environment and other issues, said varying levels of PBDEs could be found in human breast milk.

The European Union banned two of the three most common PBDE products this year, and the state of California has banned two types of PBDEs beginning in 2008. Levels found in people's bodies are rising steadily.


The Bromine Science and Environmental Forum, which represents the industry, said action was already being taken to phase out the most dangerous PBDEs.


"As the sole manufacturer of penta-BDE (Great Lakes Chemical Corporation )has already announced to voluntarily cease production of this product by Dec. 31, 2004, these levels are expected to soon plateau, reverse course, and then decrease over time," it said in a statement.


Beginning next month, U.S. supermarkets will be required to put labels on salmon telling whether the fish is farmed or wild.


Consumers are being urged by doctors and the U.S. government to eat fatty fish such as salmon because of the high content of omega-3 fatty acids. These compounds are key for brain and eye development and can lower the risk of heart disease.
Keep eyes out for "Deca PBDE" 12.Aug.2004 23:55

nodder dodder

Don't be fooled by the industrial BSEF

the flame retardants they are not phasing out are the ones that will continue releaseing these same compounds well into the future.

The "penta" mixture of which they speak of being phased out, is really just a collection of almost identical molecules with five bromines on them.

The "deca" as you might suspect has ten and the "octa" is a mixture of molecules that have eight bromines.

The problem is that the deca mixture (now the most widely produced and used in consumer products (tens of thousands of metric tons globally per year)
DEGRADES TO THE PENTA molecules which are the most persistant and most toxic.

So phasing out penta (voluntarily I might add) and shifting use to the DECA miuxture just delays the inevitable and creates a delayed bomb of deca...degrading to penta...so that the companies can say "But hey...we stoped making the penta...that penta is not our responsibility"


The Bromine Science and Environmental Forum, which represents the industry, said action was already being taken to phase out the most dangerous PBDEs.


"As the sole manufacturer of penta-BDE (Great Lakes Chemical Corporation )has already announced to voluntarily cease production of this product by Dec. 31, 2004, these levels are expected to soon plateau, reverse course, and then decrease over time," it said in a statement.

if you are concerned avoid the chinook 13.Aug.2004 00:00

hapless

The study shows the stuff to be highest in chinook amoungst all the wild salmon. It also shows wild BC and oregon chinook to be the highest of the wild fish they checked.

The pink, coho, chum, and sockeye are all much much lower

what about omega-3 13.Aug.2004 00:04

journey

I would have to disagree with comments above...at least as far as they suggest not eating salmon.

The report itself states no studies suggest that these levels can cause any harm what so ever.

Now top that off with all the GOOD the omega-3 fatty acids in salmon do for you.

I read that the omega-3's in salmon if eaten more regularly instead of beef and pork products, could cause a significant reduction in heart disease amoungst the general population. I think thats way more important that these ultra-low level compounds that have no proven problems.

we can look on the bright side: it's now harder for salmon to catch on fire 13.Aug.2004 19:46

greg snyder

and there are those people who argue vigorously against regulation of any kind, especially regulations relating to public and/or environmental safety, saying that it's bad for business, who would have you believe that the [commercial] activities of (western, mercantile) man are benign and really don't have any manifestations in nature.