Are Freshwater Fish Contaminated?
“Widespread PFAS contamination of freshwater fish in the US is likely a significant source of exposure to PFOS and potentially other [PFAS] for all persons … especially for high frequency freshwater fish consumers.”
This according to a study from the public health advocate Environmental Working Group (EWG) in a newly released report.
Amazingly, median levels of PFAS in wild caught fish from streams and rivers had readings that were 280 times higher than those fish sold in grocery stores.
What is a PFAS or ‘forever chemical’?
“Forever chemicals”, a colloquial term used to describe a group of man-made chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These chemicals are highly resistant to degradation. Furthermore, can persist in the environment for long periods of time. They have become used in a wide range of industrial and consumer products. Such as non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing, and fire-fighting foams.
PFAS usually appears in the blood of nearly all Americans. And has associations with a range of health effects, such as cancer, thyroid disorders, and developmental issues in children. Due to the persistence of these chemicals in the environment and their potential health risks, there is growing concern about the impact of PFAS on human health and the environment.
Moreover, the new study analyzes data from three studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at different periods since 2013.
The EPA found all but one of the 501 samples it checked posessed elevated PFAS levels.
Farmed freshwater fish typically came up with significantly lower levels of PFAS than wild caught. Which David Andrews, one of the study’s coauthors, felt was as a result of farms using groundwater as a source to fill ponds instead of contaminated rivers or lakes.
Bottom dwellers, bass and catfish had the highest levels of contamination.