FISH: SHOULD IT BE A PART OF YOUR DIET?

As fish became more popular, much of it is now raised in fish farms. Now comes the largest study yet. The results are that farmed fish often have dangerous levels of poisons like PCBs and dioxin (the same chemical that poisoned the Ukrainian opposition leader: Yurichenko. It disfigured his face badly). Scientists examined 700 farmed and wild fish from North America, South America, and Europe looking for 14 organchlorines thought to cause cancer and birth defects. All fourteen were present in North American, European, and South American farmed fish, and in higher amounts than in wild fish.
The source of the toxins appears to be the fish food. Organchlorines are fat soluble, so trivial amounts of toxins in small plant-nibbling fish become concentrated in the fatty tissue of larger fish. Comparing the safety of wild fish to farmed fish, the EPA suggests that it is safe to eat wild fish eight times a month, but farmed fish only once or twice a month. And fish from farms in Scotland and Northern Ireland (among others) are so contaminated that they should not be eaten more than three times a year.
Fish is an essential part of our diet, just as it was for our ancestors. Be proactive in seeking out the healthiest types. Some stores now sell fish raised organically in fish farms. When in doubt, ask you local meat and fish counters to get those brands; many store co-operate. More than one-third of U.S. lakes and nearly one-quarter of its rivers are under advisories for mercury, dioxins, PCBs, and other pollutants. The EPA advises people to not eat fish taken from these sources.

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