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PCB Sushi, Anyone?

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Those nasty environmental contaminants, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are back and this time; they're messing with our sushi

Those nasty environmental contaminants, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are back and this time; they're messing with our sushi. The US-based Environmental Working Group recently released the results of a controversial report suggesting that farmed salmon have PCB levels five to 10 times higher than wild salmon. Four of the 10 farmed-salmon samples were from Canada; three of the four contained "unacceptably high" PCB levels. (In total, seven of 10 samples tested unacceptably high.)

Cancer-causing PCBs, once used widely in plastics, have been outlawed in North America for more than two decades. Yet they persist in the environment and accumulate in the fatty tissues of life forms, including humans, when ingested through food. PCBs accumulate in farmed salmon because the fish are fed ground-up, smaller fish.

A Health Canada spokesperson said that although farmed salmon may contain PCBs, the amount isn't enough to worry aboutis negligible. A representative of the BC salmon farming industry has also lambasted the report, calling the conclusions "illogical" and "misleading."

To reduce possible PCB intake, the EWG recommends trimming fat from fish before cooking. Broil, bake, or grill fish instead of frying. Most important, choose wild and canned Alaskan salmon over farmed fish. Visit: ewg.org.

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