By Kate Sheppard
In addition to efforts to convince us that the oil is all gone in the Gulf (it’s not), the government has been promoting the idea that seafood from the region is totally safe. Obama himself has been banging this drum, noshing on plenty of seafood during his trip to the region last week, serving it up at his birthday bash, and of course, taking a dip in the Gulf with his daughter.
But how safe is it really? A study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that there may be good reason to be concerned about the long-term impacts, even if the seafood is safe for most people to eat right now.
The biggest issue, the authors write, is with shrimp, oysters, crabs and other invertebrates that have a harder time clearing out polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are carcenogenic chemical compounds found in oil and other fossil fuels, from their systems. “Although vertebrate marine life can clear PAHs from their system, these chemicals accumulate for years in invertebrates,” they write.
There are also longer-term worries for larger fish like tuna, swordfish and mackerel, which over time may accumulate dangerous levels of heavy metals found in crude oil, like cadmium, mercury, and lead, “potentially increasing future health hazards from consumption,” the report concludes. It was authored by Gina Solomon, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council and a medical doctor who teaches in the Department of Medicine at University of California-San Francisco, and Sarah Janssen, also an MD and public health expert with NRDC.
Read full post at Mother Jones