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Farm Raised Salmon High in PCBs

A new report has found that farm raised salmon are high in PCBs, which cause cancer. The PCB counts are below the FDA maximum, but are above EPA standards. The FDA maximum is 2,000 parts per billion - the fish only had 27 parts per billion.

PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are known to cause cancer and have been banned in the US since 1976. The problem is that farm raised salmon are often fed food from other countries, and that food contains high levels of PCBs. The study found that 7 out of 10 salmon tested from supermarkets contained the higher PCB levels. Comparing these salmon against European salmon, they calculated that the salmon tested had 16 times the PCBs as available wild salmon.

That's not to say they found a 70% rate. That means, literally, they only tested 10 fish.

On the other hand, other studies have found that much wild salmon has even higher PCB levels, depending on where the fish live. The pollution in a given water area can cause the wild salmon to have much 45 parts per billion or more of PCBs in their system. Also, wild salmon can have mercury buildups in their bodies. Comparatively, most feel that farm raised salmon are the healthier fish to eat.

Note that in the past few decades, people are consume a full 90% fewer PCBs due to the many laws passed against PCB usage.

The FDA is reviewing the issue, and may update their standards to match those of the EPA. The FDA standards were set in 1984, governing fish that is sold to consumers. The EPA standards were set in 1999 and cover fish that are caught recreationally.

While the study authors suggest people only eat one serving of farm raised salmon a month until this is resolved, doctors and nutritionists say that the many benefits of salmon far outweigh the small risk of cancer caused by the trace amounts of PCB - if you even get a fish that DOES have noticeable PCB amounts in it.

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