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Toxic Pollutants Found In Fish Across The World's Oceans

First Posted: Jan 28, 2016 10:50 AM EST

Fish and seafood can be irresistible at times. Lately, there has been numerous research studies that found high levels of pollutants in large amounts of fish that is consumed globally. In a recent study, researchers from the Scripps Institution at the University of California (San Diego) carried out a global analysis of seafood, where they found that fish populations across the world's oceans are contaminated with agricultural and industrial pollutants, which are known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The team also uncovered good news. Their analysis indicated that concentration levels of these pollutants have been reduced over the last 30 years.

The researchers conducted their study based on the findings of hundreds of scientific articles from 1962 to 2012. The pollutants varied from older chemicals, such as DDT and mercury along with newer industrial chemicals, such as coolants and flame retardants.  

"Based on the best data collected from across the globe, we can say that POPs can be anywhere and in any species of marine fish," Stuart Sandin, coauthor of the study, said in a news release.

The team noted that POPs were found in fish from all of the world's oceans and the concentrations of POPs in consumable fish were highly variable in one region or group of fish. The researchers' analysis showed that the average concentrations of each class of POP were much greater in the 1980s than today, where concentrations have dropped 15-30 percent per decade.

"This means that the typical fish that you consume today can have approximately 50 percent of the concentration of most POPs when compared to the same fish eaten by your parents at your age," said Lindsay Bonito, lead author of the study. "But there still remains a chance of getting a fillet as contaminated as what your parents ate."

The team urged that even though pollutant concentrations in fish have been reduced, it still remains at high levels. Pollutant exposure to seafood is still a high priority, which is designed to protect consumers of fish and seafood products.

The findings of this study were published in the journal PeerJ.

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