Fish has been found to be contaminated with dioxins (see here, here), toxic waste, mercury (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here), arsenic, PCBs, xenoestrogens (which have been associated with lower sperm counts in men and early onset puberty in girls), allergenic fish worms, pharmaceuticals (see here, here), obesogens (chemical pollutants that may be linked to obesity in people), arachidonic acid (which may cause negative mood states in people), and domoic acid (which causes a form of amnesia). The National Food Standards Guidelines for maximum fecal bacteria on ready to eat food items is 30,000; when tested, many types of sushi exceeded these limits.

Other potential risks associated with fish consumption include: diabetes, food poisoning (see here, here), gold dust retinopathy, increased pancreatic cancer risk, tongue worm infections in the human eye, rectal leakage, atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat rhythm associated with dark fish consumption), and there may even be a risk of prion disease (due to the feeding of cow’s brains to farmed fish).

It’s possible to get the healthy aquatic long chain omega-3 fatty acids from algae-based supplements, which are bioequivalent to those in fish flesh (see here, here) with without the contaminants. This might be an even more appealing option in the near future, as the seafood industry is pushing to get rid of zero tolerance policies on certain dangerous foodborne pathogens.

Topic summary contributed by Denise.
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Watch videos about seafood

  • Amnesic Seafood Poisoning
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    There's a rare toxin called domoic acid that can turn up in tuna and other seafood and cause anterograde amnesia, the loss of short-term memory popularized in the movie Memento.
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    The putative role of arachidonic acid, a fatty acid found in animal products, in mood alteration as a result of brain inflammation.
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    The role of a parasitic worm in allergic reactions to chicken and fish.
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