Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Good Reason to Be Careful of What You Eat


PCBs, DDT and other toxic chemicals cannot dissolve in water, but the plastic [that is floating in the ocean] absorbs them like a sponge. Fish that feed on plankton ingest the tiny plastic particles. Scientists from the Algalita Marine Research Foundation say that fish tissues contain some of the same chemicals as the plastic. The scientists speculate that toxic chemicals are leaching into fish tissue from the plastic they eat.

The researchers say that when a predator — a larger fish or a person — eats the fish that eats the plastic, that predator may be transferring toxins to its own tissues, and in greater concentrations since toxins from multiple food sources can accumulate in the body.


- taken from yesterday's New York Times article Afloat in the Ocean, Expanding Islands of Trash by Lindsey Howshaw


UPDATE: 11/12/09 -- Speaking of fish ...

A new EPA study shows concentrations of toxic chemicals in fish tissue from lakes and reservoirs in nearly all 50 U.S. states.

For the first time, EPA is able to estimate the percentage of lakes and reservoirs nationwide that have fish containing potentially harmful levels of chemicals such as mercury and PCBs. ...The data showed mercury concentrations in game fish exceeding EPA's recommended levels at 49 percent of lakes and reservoirs nationwide, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in game fish at levels of potential concern at 17 percent of lakes and reservoirs.


- excerpt from the Environmental Protection Agency's weekly newsletter Water Headlines for the week of November 9, 2009.

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