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Are Local Fishing Waters Safe From Contaminants?

Sunday, July 13, 2008 by: Deanna Dean
Tags: fishing, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) It's fishing season and anglers are hoping for a good catch to bring home to family and friends, but should there be a worry about the toxins and contaminants in locally fresh caught fish? The FDA regulates the safety of our seafood and enforces laws that reduce potential hazards in food, but there is no such oversight for fish caught over the side of your boat.

Fish are high in protein, low in fat and offer many valuable nutrients, but hundreds of waterways are polluted making it dangerous to eat an abundance of fish from them.

Mercury occurs naturally in the environment but it can also be released into the air through industrial pollution. It falls from the air and accumulates in streams and lakes and is converted to methylmercury which builds up in the tissues of fish and is harmful to humans when eaten, especially to the unborn fetus.

There is also a danger with PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), man-made organic chemicals known as hydrocarbons, which were used in many industrial and commercial applications until the manufacture of them was banned in 1979. They are still found in many lakes and streams and are taken up by small organisms and fish, along with other pollutants such as DDT, dioxins and chlordane. Many of these contaminants end up stored in our bodies sometimes for up to six years. High levels, especially of mercury, can yield untold health damage to our nervous system and can impair neurological development in the very young.

The American Heart Association recommends eating two 3 oz. servings of fish a week, while the FDA and Environmental Protection Agency caution that women who may become pregnant, are pregnant, nursing mothers and children younger than 5 should aim for an average of two fish meals a week of about 12 oz. total, and to choose fish low in mercury such as: Shrimp, canned light Tuna, Salmon, Pollock and Catfish and to avoid high mercury fish like: Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel or Tilefish.

The level of danger from contaminants and toxins varies by region, age of the fish and its food source. Health benefits and nutrients in fish are vital, but it is certainly reasonable to proceed with caution when eating fish and important to be knowledgeable about the safety of local waters.

Check with your local health department about the safety of your region and contact local advisories: go to (www.epa.gov/waterscience/fish/states.htm) .

A wallet-sized download version of a chart that categorizes fish according to high, low and moderate mercury levels can be found at (http://fn.cfs.purdue.edu/fish4health/Walletc...) .

Also visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website at (http://www.epa.gov/ost/fish/) to learn more.

Have fun fishing, enjoy eating your catch, but be smart about the health of the fish you choose to eat.

In good health,
Deanna Dean

Resources:

Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry

Environmental Protection Agency website

Mayo Clinic.com

About the author

Deanna Dean is the Wellness Director for Your Health Coach, a company dedicated to health and wellness education.
website: yourhealthcoachdee.com
Dee is a Wellness & Weight Loss Coach, a Certified Natural Health Professional, is pursuing an ND degree-Naturopathic Doctor, is a certified Raw Chef, certified in Dietary Guidelines from the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, former Personal Trainer, Yoga and Fitness Studio Owner, TV and Radio Guest, Health Columnist.
Deanna develops customized programs to enhance the health of her clients, educates, and coaches dieters for safe weight loss.

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