Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Flame retardant levels much higher in farmed salmon


Farm-raised salmon contain much higher levels of flame retardants than most wild salmon, and some wild Chinook have the highest levels of all, according to new research. Building on an earlier study of chemicals in the two types of fish, the findings suggest that consumers should choose their salmon carefully.

The report appeared online Aug. 10 in Environmental Science & Technology, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which are used widely as flame-retardant additives in electronics and furniture, are released into the environment both at their manufacturing sources and through everyday product wear and tear, according to the researchers.

They measured PBDEs in 700 samples of farmed and wild salmon from around the world, including most major salmon-producing regions. The study, which is by far the largest of its kind, used the same samples from an earlier study that revealed significantly higher levels of organochlorine chemicals like PCBs and dioxins in farmed salmon than in wild.

With one exception, they report, all farm-raised samples had much higher levels of flame retardants than wild salmon. They also found that farmed salmon from Europe had higher levels than those from North America, and that both European and North American farm-raised salmon had higher levels than those raised in the southern hemisphere.

One surprising outcome of the study was that wild Chinook salmon from British Columbia had the highest average PBDE levels of all the samples. "There’s something about Chinook that’s different, particularly with PBDEs," says the study’s lead author, Ronald Hites, Ph.D., an environmental chemist at Indiana University. The elevated levels could be related to the Chinook’s feeding behaviors, according to the researchers. Among all the wild species in the study, Chinook tend to feed higher in the food web and grow to be larger fish.

While it’s difficult to make direct comparisons, the concentrations found in farmed salmon are similar to levels that have been measured in people in recent years, Hites says.

The findings suggest that, in spite of the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids found in all salmon, consumers should limit their intake of farmed salmon and wild Chinook. They should also insist that all salmon be clearly labeled to indicate its source, the researchers say.

From the data in their earlier study on PCBs and dioxins, the researchers recommended eating two meals of farmed salmon per month or less, based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards. But since no standards exist yet for PBDEs, a similar quantitative suggestion can’t be made.

Little is known about the specific toxic effects of brominated flame retardants, but public health officials are concerned because they have been associated in laboratory studies with various nervous system and reproductive effects, such as impaired learning and development.

There are other reasons for concern as well, according to Hites. "If you’re a chemist and you draw the structure, they look a lot like PCBs," he explains. "We have a long history of PCBs being environmentally persistent."

"Secondly, the concentrations are going up, and that seems to me to be a bad idea," Hites continues. While levels of all the organochlorine chemicals from the previous study are on the wane, PBDEs have been rising continuously for the past few years, he says.

Officials are still debating the fate of flame retardants in the United States, although the main U.S. manufacturer recently announced plans to discontinue their use as part of a voluntary agreement with the U.S. EPA. The European Union has banned two types of PBDEs — the penta and octa formulations — and is currently considering a ban on the deca formulation.

Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>