Dr. Bray Links

Monday, May 2, 2016

Eat More Salmon? An Inside Look Into the Fish Industry

Nicolas Daniel’s documentary “Fillet-Oh-Fish” takes a critical look at the fish industry, featuring exclusive footage from fish farms and factories across the globe. Many still have a rather romanticized view of fishing, but when it comes to large-scale food production, the picture is actually rather grim.

Today’s fisheries are faced with a range of severe problems, from overfishing to chemical pollution and genetic mutation from toxic exposures. As noted by the producers of the film, “through intensive farming and global pollution, the flesh of the fish we eat has turned into a deadly chemical cocktail.”1

Despite that, the fish business is booming, in part due to efforts to keep the dirty underbelly of modern fisheries from public sight.

Aquaculture promotes itself as a sustainable solution to overfishing. But in reality, fish farms actually cause more problems than they solve. There’s really little difference, in terms of environmental pollution, between land-based feedlots and water-based ones.


"Oppdrettslaks = farmed salmon"

Endosulfan sulfate: Endosulfan is an off-patent organochlorine insecticide and acaricide. Endosulfan is one of the most toxic pesticides on the market today, responsible for many fatal pesticide poisoning incidents around the world. Endosulfan is also a xenoestrogen—a synthetic substance that imitates or enhances the effect of estrogens—and it can act as an endocrine disruptor, causing reproductive and developmental damage in both animals and humans. It has also been found to act as an aromatase inhibitor. Whether endosulfan can cause cancer is debated. 

Dieldrin: Dieldrin is an organochloride originally produced in 1948 by J. Hyman & Co, Denver, as an insecticide. It has been linked to health problems such as Parkinson's, breast cancer, and immune, reproductive, and nervous system damage. It is also an endocrine disruptor, acting as an estrogen and antiandrogen, and can adversely affect testicular descent in the fetus if a pregnant woman is exposed to it.

DDE: Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) is a chemical compound formed by the loss of hydrogen chloride (dehydrohalogenation) from DDT, of which it is one of the more common breakdown products. Due to DDT’s massive prevalence in society and agriculture during the mid 20th century, DDT and DDE are still widely seen in animal tissue samples.

DDT: DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) is a colorless, crystalline, tasteless and almost odorless organochloride known for its insecticidal properties and environmental impacts. DDT is an endocrine disruptor. It is considered likely to be a human carcinogen although the majority of studies suggest it is not directly genotoxic.DDE acts as a weak androgen receptor antagonist, but not as an estrogen. p,p'-DDT, DDT's main component, has little or no androgenic or estrogenic activity. The minor component o,p'-DDT has weak estrogenic activity.

PCB153: PCBs 101, 153 and 180 cause modifications were consistent with the occurrence of "leptin-resistance" in adipose tissue, a typical metabolic alteration related to obesity and obesity-related disease.

PCB118: A dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and a potent aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) agonist, is implicated in the disruption of both carbohydrate and lipid metabolism which ultimately leads to wasting disorders, metabolic disease, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. PCB 118 has caused in animal studies increased cancers of liver, uterus, pancreas, and lung as well as increased incidences of nonneoplastic lesions in the liver, lung, adrenal cortex, pancreas, thyroid gland, nose, and kidney.

BDE47 & BDE99: C-PentaBDE has been used as a flame retardant additive in flexible polyurethane foam for furniture and upholstery and in electronic equipment. The main source in North America and Western Europe has been the C-PentaBDE incorporated in polyurethane foam, used in domestic and public furniture. PentaBDE may have effects on "the liver, thyroid, and neurobehavioral development."


It's not just a farmed fish problem. But the problem is magnified by farming due to the highly toxic feed and living conditions of farmed fish ...

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), used as commercial flame-retardants, are bioaccumulating in threatened Pacific salmon. However, little is known of PBDE effects on critical physiological functions required for optimal health and survival. BDE-47 and BDE-99 are the predominant PBDE congeners found in Chinook salmon collected from the Pacific Northwest. In the present study, both innate immunity (phagocytosis and production of superoxide anion) and pathogen challenge were used to evaluate health and survival in groups of juvenile Chinook salmon exposed orally to either BDE-47 or BDE-99 at environmentally relevant concentrations. Head kidney macrophages from Chinook salmon exposed to BDE-99, but not those exposed to BDE-47, were found to have a reduced ability in vitro to engulf foreign particles. However, both congeners increased the in vitro production of superoxide anion in head kidney macrophages. Salmon exposed to either congener had reduced survival during challenge with the pathogenic marine bacteria Listonella anguillarum. The concentration response curves generated for these end points were nonmonotonic and demonstrated a requirement for using multiple environmentally relevant PBDE concentrations for effect studies. Consequently, predicting risk from toxicity reference values traditionally generated with monotonic concentration responses may underestimate PBDE effect on critical physiological functions required for optimal health and survival in salmon.

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