PRINCETON, N.J., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Ditch the pills, potions and
diets, and eat salmon. This is the clear message based on all we know about
this popular fish. And new studies on the PCB levels just reinforce it loud
(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040810/PHTU018LOGO )
The latest round of PCB monitoring carried out by Salmon of the Americas
(SOTA) show levels of PCBs in farmed salmon at about the same levels as those
from wild Alaska Chinook and sockeye salmon. This should put to rest any
fears that arose from the notorious Hites study which appeared in the journal
"Science" in January 2004 proclaiming farmed salmon to have higher levels of
PCBs than their wild cousins.
The current SOTA testing found PCB levels in farmed salmon to be 11.5 ppb.
These levels are virtually identical to those from the most recent study done
by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC), which found PCB
levels in wild sockeye and Chinook to be 10 ppb and 8.2 ppb, respectively.
The FDA tolerance is 2000 ppb per fish.
What's the Real Risk?
PCBs are polychlorinated biphenyls that were used in manufacturing for
almost half a century. When PCBs were found to be toxic, the United States
banned their use in 1979. However there is no scientific evidence showing
that PCBs in fish or the environment have ever caused cancer in humans. In
fact, workers in industrial settings exposed to PCBs on a daily basis show no
higher rates of cancer than the rest of the population.
"This fascination with PCBs in salmon is reminiscent of past food scares,"
says Doris Adler, cardiac dietitian with Saint Joseph's Hospital in Atlanta,
GA. The amount of PCBs ingested through salmon is so insignificant that it's
not worth fretting over. In fact we eat more PCBs from other foods than we do
from salmon. It's unfortunate that coverage generated by the Hites study was
so misleading that it drove many consumers away from a heart-healthy food."
According to Eric Rimm, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition
at the Harvard School of Public Health, "The health benefits of the protein
and omega-3 fatty acids found in wild salmon or farmed salmon from Canada or
Chile, where the US gets most of its salmon, will almost definitely outweigh
the risks for American adults where the leading cause of death is from
In addition, mercury, which has been a problem for some other fish, is not
a problem in farmed or wild salmon.
Hands Down: The Best for Heart Health
The bottom line? The benefits of salmon far outweigh the risks. Salmon
is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to
stave off heart attacks, minimize symptoms of arthritis, help control blood
glucose levels and reduce the incidence of Alzheimer's. A recent study found
that women who ate fatty fish once a week had a 40 percent lower risk of heart
disease than did women who ate fish less than once per month.
"In addition to having three to four times the omega-3s of other fish,
farmed salmon is inexpensive and readily available," says Kathleen Zelman,
registered dietitian in Marietta, GA. "And perhaps best of all for the diet-
weary, it's easy to prepare and tastes great. Eating more salmon is an
excellent means of controlling calories in our weight-conscious society while
also providing an array of health benefits. It is literally one of the best
ways you can protect your heart, and heart disease is the number one killer in
the United States today."
SOURCE Salmon of the Americas