Freshwater fish cause serious health problems

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A recent study found that eating freshwater fish can cause serious health damage, which can lead to illnesses including cancer.

According to a study prepared by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, fish caught in fresh waters of major rivers and lakes contain dangerously high levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFAS), according to CNN.

This substance is short for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, a known synthetic toxin that has been phased out by the US federal government and has been widely used since the 1950s to make consumer products that are non-stick and resistant to stains, stains, waters and grease. According to (Sputnik in Arabic)

These compounds are called “eternal chemicals” because they do not degrade easily in the environment, and PFAS has leaked into drinking water via public water systems and private wells. Experts say the chemicals then build up in the bodies of fish, shellfish, livestock, dairy and game that people eat.

“Levels of PFOS found in freshwater fish often exceeded 8,000 parts per trillion,” said study co-author David Andrews, senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group, the organization environmental health nonprofit that analyzed the data.

By comparison, the Environmental Protection Agency has only allowed 70 parts per trillion of PFOS in the nation’s drinking water.

Due to growing health concerns, the EPA recommended in 2022 that the allowable level of perfluorooctane sulfonate in drinking water be lowered from 70 to 0.02 parts per trillion.

“You would have to drink an incredible amount of water — a month’s worth of polluted water — to get the same exposure you would get from a serving of freshwater fish,” Andrews said.

“Eating just one (locally caught freshwater) fish per year can measurably and significantly change the levels of PFOS in your blood,” Andrews said.

PFAS-family chemicals are linked to high cholesterol, cancer and various chronic diseases, as well as a limited antibody response to vaccines in adults and children, according to a report by the National Academies of Sciences, engineering and medicine.

“This is an important paper,” said toxicologist Linda Birnbaum, former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program, commenting on the study.

“Finding this level of contamination in fish across the country, even in areas away from industry where serious contamination might be expected, is very concerning,” she added. “These chemicals are everywhere.”

Experts say it’s nearly impossible to avoid PFAS. Manufacturers add these chemicals to thousands of products, including nonstick cookware, cell phones, carpets, clothing, makeup, furniture and food packaging.

A 2020 survey found PFAS in many fast food wrappers and in “green” fiber bowls and containers.

A 2021 study found that PFAS were present in 52% of cosmetics tested, with the highest levels in waterproof mascara (82%), foundation (63%) and long-wear lipstick (62%). %). Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) (the coating for non-stick pans) was the most common hazardous material.

Environmental Working Group scientists used data from the EPA’s monitoring programs – the National Rivers and Streams Assessment, which has periodically tested stream conditions since 2008, and the Tissue Study Great Lakes Fish Fillets for Human Health, which tests lake waters every five years.

“The analysis focused on fish caught by the EPA in rivers and streams and throughout the Great Lakes region from 2013 to 2015, as this was the most recent data available,” said Andrews.

He said the contamination was widespread, affecting “almost every fish in the country”.

The analysis showed that PFOS was responsible on average for 74% of fish contamination.

Elevated levels of some PFAS are associated with: Increased cholesterol levels Decreased vaccine response in infants Changes in liver enzymes Increased risk of high blood pressure Increased risk of preeclampsia in pregnant women Lower birth weight slightly lower An increased risk of kidney or testicular cancer.

PFAS are a group of over 4,700 industrial chemicals used in a wide range of everyday products that now pollute air, soil and water around the world. These chemicals build up forever in food chains, causing long term damage to wildlife and are very persistent in the environment.




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