Fish eaters in Spain have highest exposure to body-harming chemicals in Europe

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MACKEREL: One of many species tested Photo Credit: Shutterstock

FISH eaters in Spain have the highest exposure to chemicals which can affect hormonal levels and the reproductive system.

A team from the Institute of Research Catalan of Aigua, took samples of fish and shellfish from 11 European countries and found a significant presence of compounds known as ‘endocrine disruptors’.

Similarly, the potential risk to the population was evaluated, for which the available data on fish consumption habits in five of the countries and the levels of the pollutants found were crossed.

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The findings put Spain most at risk, mainly due to the high consumption, followed by Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Belgium.

But members of the public are assured there is no real cause for concern.

Published in the journal Environment International, the survey revealed that the pollutants have made their way into the marine environment and transferred to the organisms that live in it.

A spokeswoman for the Institute of Environmental Diagnosis and Water Studies said that in high concentrations, the chemical substances can represent a risk.

It is therefore important to know the levels present in the species of sea life that are usually eaten.

But she added that the concentrations of contaminants found should not alarm the public or make them change their eating habits.

In total, 65 samples of fish and shellfish from European markets, fish markets and imports were collected and studied. The 12 most popular with consumers were analysed; mackerel, tuna, cod perch, pangasius, sole, sea bream, plaice, salmon, mussels, prawns and crab.

In all cases, the presence of 12 compounds was assessed, both in raw samples and in steam cooked foods.

 

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