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Livestock feed accurately predicts toxic chemicals in food

What did the fish you’re eating for dinner have for its breakfast? That’s a question you may not have thought to ask, but if a new study is right it’s one we may all be asking ourselves in the future.

Numerous flame retardants known as PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) were banned by the United States and Europe in 2004 due to the “environmental and public health concerns” they posed. Unfortunately PBDEs tend to hang around in the environments they were exposed to. Toxins such as these are known as POPs, or Persistent Organic Pollutants. Years after being banned, they still pose a risk to humans and our wildlife.

Cattle and farmed fish are at risk of being exposed to PBDEs due to the foods their fed. They’re often fed foods that have been imported “from a number of countries, including those without advanced food safety regulations.” For a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh, farmed salmon was examined for its exposure to dangerous PBDEs “inhaled through [its] gills, how the fish metabolized and eliminated pollutants, and of course, the concentration of pollutants in the feed.” While feed that contains the toxin is dangerous, they found it much more of a concern in areas that are considered “otherwise clean and well regulated environments”.

If the beef or fish you’re consuming comes from a place with high pollutant concentration aka “hot spots”, exposure to dangerous toxins is of course of greater concern. Dr. Ng, the leading researcher on the study, believes for this reason it’s “extremely important” to know where the foods you’re consuming were sourced from.

To learn more about the potential dangers of consuming foods exposed POPs, click here: