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, January 8, 2004..

Salmon sources

'Tis the time of year to fire up that barbecue. But before you toss that salmon filet on, ask yourself is it farmed or wild? Farmed fish contain significantly higher levels of toxic chemicals than wild salmon, according to a large study in the journal , January 8, 2004.

Researchers tested about two tons of farmed and wild salmon, and salmon feed from fish farms in major cities in the Americas and Europe. They discovered potentially dangerous levels of chemicals such as PCBs and dioxins, exposure to which can increase the risk of developing cancer and contribute to reproductive and hormonal problems.

"While European farmed fish are worse, Canadian farmed salmon are still a potential health risk," said Otto Langer, Director of Marine Conservation for the David Suzuki Foundation (davidsuzuki.org).

The Science report suggests only one meal per month of BC farmed salmon. Children and expectant mothers are advised to eat less. Farmed salmon is rarely labeled as such in stores and many canned and packaged fish items are made of farmed fish, so be sure to double-check the quality.

Highway to higher greenhouse gases?

It's hot, it's sweaty, and our typical temperatures could get worse if more effort isn't made to fight climate change, says the Sierra Club of Canada (sierraclub.ca).

The environmental group is calling for the federal government to impose mandatory fuel-efficiency standards for the vehicle industry. As it stands, big, gas-guzzlers&popular vehicles amongst consumers&are a major source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Since the mid-1970s, Canada's fuel-efficiency standards have essentially been set by the US government through what's known as the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) Standards. These standards haven't changed since the 1980s. In recent years, the Canadian and US governments' environmental policies have begun to diverge. Notably, the US didn't ratify the Kyoto Accord, whereas Canada did.

Now the time has come, says the Sierra Club, to produce our own standards to maintain air quality for future generations. The federal government has already asked automakers to voluntarily boost fuel efficiency by 25 percent by 2010&a token move the group argues won't get real results.

For information on environmentally conscious car shopping, read the March 2004 David Suzuki Foundation newsletter at davidsuzuki.org/WOL/Challenge/Newsletter/mar2004_cars/.

The average Canadian household spent $8,430 on transportation in 2002, up 11 percent from 2001. Spending on cars and trucks (including SUVs and vans) increased 14 percent.

Source: Statistics Canada, Survey of Household Spending, 2002

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