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Your Tuna Can Carry 36 Times More Pollutants Depending on Where It Was Caught
The next time you go out for seafood, you might want to ask where the tuna was caught.
According to new research from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, the levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the muscle tissue of yellowfin tuna caught in the more industrialized areas of the northeast Pacific Ocean and northeast Atlantic Ocean can be as much as 36 times higher than in tuna caught in pristine waters of the West Pacific Ocean.
POPs are of global concern because they can be resistant to degradation and can accumulate in the environment and organisms alike, meaning they can pass from one species to the other through the food chain. POPs include pesticides, flame retardants and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)—a banned and highly hazardous group of compounds once used for paints, electrical equipment and other products.
For the study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers analyzed the containment levels of 117 yellowfin tuna caught around the world. While most of analyzed tuna would be considered safe under current consumption guidelines, the researchers noted that 90 percent of the tuna captured in the northeast Atlantic Ocean and more than 60 percent of those caught in the Gulf of Mexico contained pollutant levels that would have triggered health advisories for populations with increased risks of food-borne illnesses, including pregnant and nursing women or people with compromised immune systems.
"Surprisingly, only a few types of pollutants detected in tuna had regulatory information available to calculate meal recommendations," said Scripps postdoctoral researcher Sascha Nicklisch, who led the study. "An important issue raised by the study is how to guide science and policy on possible hazards associated with these chemicals in our food sources."
The researchers were also surprised to find Transporter Inhibiting Compounds—pollutants that can to impair the human body's defense system against chemicals and toxins—in samples from the most contaminated sites.
The study suggests that tuna consumers should know the origin of catch to avoid exposure to these pollutants.
Nicklisch told the San Diego Union-Tribune that fish caught off of Asia and in the Pacific Islands were relatively clean.
"The sites where we caught them are known to be more pristine, such as kingdom of Tonga," he said.
As NPR reported, while the current study analyzed the levels of POPs in tuna, the same group also analyzed the mercury levels in tuna for a separate report in May. Similar to POPs, the researchers found that mercury levels in the yellowfin can vary depending on the location it is caught.
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."