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Sunday, 14 April 2024 15:59

Discover how high concentrations of "forever chemicals" PFAS in fish and seafood impact health and what actions Dartmouth experts suggest.

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We are increasingly aware that per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), commonly referred to as "forever chemicals," pose a serious threat to public health. New research conducted by scientists at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth reveals that this problem also affects fish and seafood, which are typically considered healthy dietary components. These findings indicate that PFAS concentrations may be significantly higher than previously thought, raising new concerns about the consumption of marine products.

What will you learn?

1. What are PFAS and where are they commonly used?
2. What health risks are associated with high concentrations of PFAS in fish and seafood?
3. Why do shrimp and lobsters have particularly high concentrations of PFAS?
4. What precautions are recommended for consumers of fish and seafood?
5. What new safety standards do scientists propose to protect against PFAS?

High PFAS concentrations in popular seafood

Research by the Dartmouth team shows that the highest PFAS concentrations were found in the meat of shrimp and lobsters. This is likely due to their life on the ocean floor, where the concentration of these substances may be particularly high. These discoveries shed new light on potential dangers associated with consuming certain types of seafood, traditionally valued for their nutritional content, including high protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Balancing benefits and risks

Although seafood is an important part of a healthy diet, Dartmouth scientists emphasize the need for a conscious approach to its consumption. As Megan Romano notes, "it is necessary to understand the compromise between risk and benefits." In light of new findings, consumers, especially pregnant women and children, are advised to be more careful in choosing and frequency of consuming marine products.

Call for new safety standards

Jonathan Petali, a toxicologist from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, calls for the development of new, more stringent safety standards regarding PFAS. Understanding the mechanisms of these substances' transfer in the food chain can help develop more effective strategies to reduce human exposure to these dangerous chemicals.

Although research on PFAS is still ongoing, their results clearly indicate the need for urgent action from scientists and regulators. Understanding the full impact of PFAS on health and the environment is crucial for developing effective methods to protect public health from the long-term effects of these difficult-to-remove chemical compounds.