Global Assessment of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers in Farmed and Wild Salmon
Environmental Science Technology
38 (19), 4945 -4949, August 10, 2004
Ronald A. Hites, Jeffery A. Foran, Steven J. Schwager, Barbara A. Knuth, M. Coreen Hamilton, and David O. Carpenter
We have shown recently that levels of persistent, bioaccumulative contaminants (polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, and several chlorinated pesticides) are significantly higher in farmed than in wild salmon and that European farm-raised salmon have significantly greater toxic contaminant loads than those raised in North and South America.
KEY POINTS FROM DAN MURPHY
1) Levels of persistent, bioaccumulative contaminants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, and chlorinated pesticides, are significantly higher in farmed than in wild salmon and that European farm-raised salmon have significantly greater toxic contaminant loads than those raised in North and South America.
2) Polybrominated diphenyl ethers are flame retardants that are used in many commercial and household products, such as upholstered furniture.
3) Because governments now have regulations requiring household products to be flame resistant, polybrominated diphenyl ethers are now ubiquitous; they can be found in air, water, fish, birds, marine mammals, and people. [Another example of the “Law of Unintended Consequences”: In an effort to reduce fires, governments have legislated-in the use of chemicals that harm our bodies, brains, hormones, and increases cancer risk.]
4) Both farmed and wild salmon have bioaccumulated contaminants like polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, and chlorinated pesticides and polybrominated diphenyl ethers.
5) Over half the salmon sold globally is farm-raised.
6) Atlantic salmon is always farmed-raised.
7) Farm-raised salmon from Europe have higher polybrominated diphenyl ethers levels than those raised in North America and that both European and North American farm-raised salmon have higher polybrominated diphenyl ethers levels than those farm-raised in Chile.
8) Among species of wild salmon, chinook has the highest polybrominated diphenyl ethers levels.
9) Total polybrominated diphenyl ethers in the farmed salmon were significantly more concentrated than in the wild salmon.
10) Both European and North American store-bought salmon have average polybrominated diphenyl ethers concentrations much higher than in wild salmon.
11) Polybrominated diphenyl ethers disrupt spontaneous behavior, impair learning and memory, and induce other neurotoxic effects. They are especially bad during critical periods of neonatal development.
12) Polybrominated diphenyl ethers are also endocrine disruptors, altering thyroid hormone homeostasis and a depletion of T4.
13) Polybrominated diphenyl ethers may be carcinogenic.
14) The polybrominated diphenyl ethers concentrations now observed in humans may leave little or no margin of safety; therefore, we should not eat farmed salmon and should not overeat chinook salmon.