High seafood diet may come with a hefty side of chemicals

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People who frequently consume seafood may face a heightened risk of exposure to toxic “forever chemicals,” a study has found.
While scientists have long been assessing the presence of PFAS in freshwater fish, the study authors noted that seafood has thus far come under less scrutiny.
National-level research, the authors noted, has shown that New England as a region is a top consumer of seafood.
While they purchased the products fresh from the coastal New Hampshire market, the seafood originated from various regions, according to the study.
They found that local market basket shrimp and lobster consistently had the highest PFAS levels, while concentrations in other types of seafood were generally lower.
Ultimately, the researchers found that among high consumers of seafood, concentrations of PFUnDA and PFNA in shrimp did not present a risk, but levels of PFOS did.
But although New Hampshire residents do tend to eat a lot of seafood, they don’t do so uniformly, the authors noted.
“Our recommendation isn’t to not eat seafood — seafood is a great source of lean protein and omega fatty acids,” Romano said.

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Research has indicated that individuals who eat seafood on a regular basis may be more susceptible to exposure to harmful “forever chemicals.”.

According to a study published in Exposure and Health on Friday, fresh from a market in coastal New Hampshire, shrimp and lobster had the highest concerning levels of these PFAS compounds of all the species tested.

Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are released into the environment by a number of sources, such as common household products, firefighting foam varieties, and industrial discharge.

These artificial substances have poisoned the country’s water supplies and the animals that live in them, and they have been connected to multiple cancer types.

The study authors pointed out that although scientists have been evaluating PFAS levels in freshwater fish for a while, seafood has received less attention up to this point.

Megan Romano, the corresponding author and an associate professor of epidemiology at Dartmouth College’s Geisel School of Medicine, noted in a statement that “the majority of existing research focuses on PFAS levels in freshwater species, which are not what people primarily consume.”.

The results of a statewide survey of dietary practices in New Hampshire were combined with an analysis of PFAS concentrations in fresh seafood by the authors to arrive at their conclusions. According to national research, New England is one of the top seafood-consuming regions in the country, the authors noted.

In samples of the most commonly consumed marine species in the region, including cod, haddock, lobster, salmon, scallop, shrimp, and tuna, the scientists measured the concentrations of 26 distinct PFAS types, out of which there are thousands.

According to the study, even though they bought the seafood fresh from the coastal New Hampshire market, it came from different parts of the country.

They discovered that while concentrations in other types of seafood were generally lower, local market basket shrimp and lobster consistently had the highest levels of PFAS.

The scientists then used a ratio of the daily dose of the compounds ingested to the corresponding federal or state safe consumption thresholds to assess the risk of exposure to three specific PFAS offenders: PFOS, PFNA, and PFUnDA.

The authors then went over the findings from their “Granite State Panel,” which involved 1,829 citizens of New Hampshire answering an online questionnaire about how often they ate seafood. The most popular and common options were shrimp, haddock, and salmon.

In the end, the researchers discovered that while levels of PFOS posed a concern, PFUnDA and PFNA concentrations in shrimp did not pose a risk to high seafood consumers.

The study found that although levels of PFOS and PFNA did not present such a risk, concentrations of PFUnDA in lobster were of possible concern for high-consuming individuals.

Nevertheless, the authors pointed out that while people in New Hampshire do generally eat a lot of seafood, this isn’t the case for everyone.

Over 50% of those who reported eating seafood in the week prior to the survey resided near the Massachusetts border or on the coast.

There were also differences based on income: the study indicated that while those with higher incomes ate seafood less frequently, over 60% of households with an annual income under $45,000 reported doing so at least once a week.

As a fantastic source of lean protein and omega fatty acids, seafood isn’t advised to be avoided, according to Romano. It is, however, a possibly underappreciated source of human exposure to PFAS. “.

“People making dietary decisions need to understand this risk-benefit trade-off for seafood consumption, especially vulnerable populations like children and pregnant women,” she continued.

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