The Health Risks of Salmon

More than two years ago, I warned you about PCBs accumulating in farmed and wild salmon. The news and pollutants have gotten worse over time, based on a pair of recent studies.

In one study, the level of toxins found in some farmed salmon, particularly in Europe, were so high, they increased a patient's risk of cancer, far outweighing their health benefits. So high, in fact, scientists recommended Europeans eat a single serving safely every five months...

In the other study, based on blood samples from some 200 fisherman and their wives, exposure to high levels of persistent organochlorine pollutants (POPs) -- a class of toxic chemicals including PCBs and DDT -- from eating fatty fish like salmon elevated their risk of type 2 diabetes.

Blood samples from 6 percent of men and 5 percent of women who suffered from type-2 diabetes contained significantly high amounts of CB-153, a POP residue, and DDE, the main byproduct of DDT.

Were it not for all the pollutants most fish are exposed to, fish would be a wonderful food to eat. And don't think farmed salmon are any healthier or safer for you than wild salmon, as they have at least 10 times more cancer-causing persistent organic pollutants than their wild counterparts. Sadly, these pollutants are now infesting wild salmon at an alarming rate.

Some tips that can help you get the omega-3 fats you need to optimize your health:

  • Taking a high quality fish or cod liver oil daily.
  • Being very careful where you buy fresh fish, as most commercial brands are contaminated with mercury.

BBC News November 29, 2005

Environmental Health November 11, 2005 Free Full Text PDF

Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 135, No. 11, November 2005: 2639-2643

WHAM.com November 30, 2005

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