EDF overstating seafood consumption risks?
Nutritional advice is usually straightforward. There are things we’re supposed to eat more of: vegetables, fruit, whole grains. There are things we’re supposed to eat less of: trans fats, added sugars, anything coated with salty orange dust.
And then there’s fish.
We’re supposed to eat more of it because it has healthful omega-3 fats. But we’re supposed to eat less of it because it’s full of environmental contaminants. Balancing the risks and benefits is hard, even for the doctors and scientists in the field. Absent sound advice, it’s all but impossible for those of us trying simply to decide what’s for dinner.
Consider salmon. According to the joint advisory issued by the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, salmon is low in mercury and safe even for pregnant women. Yet the Environmental Defense Fund, an advocacy group, suggests that all adults — not just pregnant women — limit wild salmon (except for Alaskan) to one serving per month and farmed salmon to no more than two, because of PCB contamination.
This kind of disparity raises two questions: What do we know about fish, and what do we know about the advice we’re getting about fish?