Fish are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. That is the marketing edge of popular tuna brands. Anyone can be healthy with proper diet and eating canned tuna. The lowly sardines are also good choices as source of the healthy omega-3.
However, the health benefits can be neutralized by methyl mercury. Hazardous concentrations are existing in fish. Bigger species having higher levels than smaller. How can we be healthy if we are taking methyl mercury every time we eat fish? Scary?
To add more scare, the deadly red tide can be gathered from eating fish. Shellfish such as mussels and oysters harbor the most toxins but the moving fish are also affected.
Another compound of concern is the PCB or polychlorinated biphenyls. Highly toxic when consumed in large amount. A long term low quantity consumption also pose some great health hazards. The substance affect fetuses, babies and children – they might suffer developmental and neurological problems. Adult population is not exempted from its bad effects.
PCB’s are highly stable polymer. It might take thousand and thousand of years to break it down naturally or through weathering. It stays in riverbanks and other water bodies. It still exist in environment even though its manufacture was banned since 1977.
Through the process of biological accumulation, this toxic substance is stored in fatty tissues. Bigger fishes tend to accumulate significant amounts cause they have longer life and might eat thousands of smaller species.
PCB are used industrial application such as: carbonless paper, hydraulic fluids and electric transformers.
To lessen the intake of PCB’s:
1) Bought fish caught from clean sources. From clean rivers, lakes and fishpond.
2) Drain away fish fat after frying.
3) Avoid skin, belly and internal organs. Toxic compounds tend to accumulate on those parts.
4) Choose smaller fish. They have shorter life span. Their chances of accumulating PCB’s and other toxic chemicals are lesser.