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J-Man

PCB's & other worries

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Haven't read much on the topic of eating striped bass and it's safety. Did read the warning charts which go along with the state laws, it kind of worries me. I consider myself a sportsman even though I love seafood, esp. what I have caught myself. Did catch my first striper this summer (29") and it was great off the BBQ. Didn't let my 6 year old have any, though. Granted, I wouldn't keep or consume any stripers over 20 or 30 lbs., knowing that older fish have much higher levels of PCB's in their flesh, and they will not taste as good as smaller fish. But what about it, how old = how safe?

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As I remember it wasn't as imperative to how big the fish was but where the fish came from. Many fish from the Hudson had high levels while fish from the Chesapeake didn't. I don't recall what the advisory if any is relative to the Hudson.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't PCBs reside in the fat part of fish? I'm assuming that's the grey-brown area close to the skin. So the pure white flesh should be safe enough?

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Everyne has their own opinions, but I think as long as you dont eat more than 1 fish every 2 weeks your fine. Unless its caught in some freshwater/saltwater river, such a housatonic or connecticut river. If people eat 10 lb bluefish that eat anything and are more oily than stripers, I dont think a striper under 30 lbs would do anything. Lets face it, some of them eat better than most people.

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I think we had this before in here somewhere. I think in testing the fish they were grinding up the whole fish. Alot of the PCB's reside in the fat(red part along skin) and in the head(Brain). So I think alot of the testing was not a true test. I think someone on this board had a wife or knows someone who worked in a lab that tested this. Someone may rememeber more or remember the thread. May try the search.

 

Bill

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I find it amazing that Dr.s and the Health community tell every one to eat more fish and chicken. Chicken beeing the worst food consumed by humans.Is there a magical place where they grow there fish or chicken or do they catch the fish in the Atlantic or Northsea by the millions.

I truly believe the sportsman has been chastized for too long.How many fish can a Sportsman carry home and would you want to carry too many home. Get real.

Have any fishing vessels gone out and decided to throw the fish back by the thousands because they believe in conservation. Those fish end up in the grocery store where i buy my fish once or twice a week

Funny how we are told don't eat too many we catch, I don't see any sign at the supermarket and who knows where they come from.6000 fisherman in NJ couldn't do the damage that has been done over the years by vessels 3 miles out from every *&&%#%$ country in the world. I guess the whole world is now succumbing to PCB poisining.As for me I catch a slot once in a while and it's a whole lot better then what I get at the Supermarket

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I have some files on PCBs in fish and animals etc... from back in the early 80s and even a few from before that.

There have been many instances of PCB poisoning of humans... but none as large and as bad as in Yusho Japan, and I can't recall offhand the exact date but I think it was sometime in the 60s.

They had pure, liquid PCBs leaking into the towns supply of cooking oil and rice and people were injesting 1000s of PPM on a daily basis.

Many complained of dizziness, knumbness of the limbs, rashes, discoloration of the skin and stomach ailments. After a few weeks of searching they found the culprit and the source of the problems.

Nobody died. The symptoms dissappeared quickly. They have been testing those people ever since then for some type of long lasting effects of the poisoning. None was found other than some short term memory loss and some slight liver damage. There was no immediate increase in cancers etc... and I don't know if the testing of the people still living is still occuring today.

Testing on animals showed that the main problem with PCBs has much to do with problems in reproduction.

Some studies show that PCBs in the body tend to imitate a reproductive hormone and the body stops producing it and we effectivly become sterile.

PCBs are considered a cancer promoter rather than a cancer causer.. I can't tell you what that difference is either.

PCBs are found in many types food we eat now and national FDA standards of "safe" allowable levels are different with each one.

Fish is 2 PPM... and chicken is 3 PPM and the same in milk, cheeses and meats and so on.

Why the "safe" allowable standards are different and tougher on fish and seafood products is a wonder to me.

The testing standards are different too.

The standards for all foods used to be 5 PPM until 1985 or so, and was dropped to 2 PMM as we found out more about this type of contamination.

In the past, and of all the fish, Menhaden and Bluefish seemed to be testing with the overall highest levels of contamination.

35 to 55 PPM in Bluefish was not uncommon.

Anything less than 2 PPM is considered to be a "background level" now and will, for all intents and purposes, always be with us.

The highest PCB levels tested in seafood, to my knowledge, was the tomale in Lobsters in and around the waters off of Fall River, Mass. The meat (tails, claws) of the Lobster don't seem to retain PCBs but the tomale is laced with very high levels of them sometimes.

There are approximately 209 different forms of PCBs... and the most "toxic", so to speak, are the most highly chlorinated versions... But they are also the quickest to break down in the environment.

On a personal note, in my opinion only, dredging the Hudson River will only make things worse for contamination of animals and humans in both the short and possibly the long run too.

My friend can no longer find buyers for his house in Pascoag because of MBTE poisoning his water supply from our newly formulated gasolines. Putting PCBs on land may wind up doing the same type of thing to our aquafers. Not good.

Just my 2 cents.

Rhodester

 

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Great reply Rhodester. You kind of eased my fears a little. I do wish there was more up-to-date info on this topic. I still have a frozen striper waiting for the grill and plan on slinging a few more into the freezer once the "run" begins around here (Avon - Bradley Beach). Makes sense that stripers and bluefish (high fat content) would be pointed out, while flounder has no warnings attached. But what about tuna? Doesn't tuna have alot of fat content? Makes you think...

haven't seen any warnings on the labels, and I do love tuna salad...?...!

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There doesn't seem to be a logical trail to follow as to why some fish tend to accumulate and retain certain chemicals and some not.

Winter flounder don't seem to accumulate PCBs or heavy metals to anywhere the same degree as PCBs and Blufish... and Mercury as in the case of the Tunas and swordfish.

I once read somewhere that a swordfish was found frozen in the icecap and was judged to be about 800 years old.. and when it was tested, the scientists found that the mercury levels in the fish were 5 to 10 times the average amounts found today.

It is still a mystery as to how this could be.

More coal and wood being used as fuel for heat back then ?

Just a hunch.

Rhodester

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The general NY state warning on striped bass caught in the marine district is:

 

"Women of childbearing age and children under the age of 15 should eat no striped bass taken from Upper and Lower Bays of New York Harbor or Long Island Sound west of Wading River. Other people should EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of striped bass taken from these waters. Everyone should eat no more than one meal per week of striped bass taken from Jamaica Bay, Eastern Long Island Sound, Block Island Sound, Peconic/Gardiner's Bay or Long Island south shore waters. (Contaminant of concern--PCBs)"

 

In the Hudson, no one should eat striped bass caught between the Catskill Bridge and Hudson Falls. Women of childbearing age and children under 15 should eat no striped bass caught south of the Catskill Bridge either, while all others are advised to eat no more than one meal per month.

 

A meal is defined as one-half pound of fish.

 

More detailed information is available at http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/environ/fish.htm

 

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Those fish end up in the grocery store where i buy my fish once or twice a week

 

If you go to the supermarket to BUY fish you support COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN, I love to eat fish but would never purchase fish.

There are alot of fish out there besides Striper, DO NOT SUPPORT COMMERCIAL FISHERMAN

 

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When you filet the fish remove all of the lateral line, the brown, dark flesh. This is the fatty portion of the fish and the part that contains most of the PCB's (PCB's are fat soluble).

 

In addition, cook the fish in a manner that allows for the juices to drip of the flesh and into a pan or the fire.

 

Both strategies significantly reduce the PCB content.

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Good points. Just curious, though...how often & how many portions (half-pound in this case) do most of you consume? (Striped bass that is). Since I've only accounted for two fish under 15 lbs. myself, I can say I'm within limits of the printed warnings. On the other hand, I eat summer flounder 2 to 3 times a week (still have about a dozen flatties on ice since the season ended). Just curious...

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I don't know if Fluke has ever been tested by either NY or RI for PCBs, dioxins, mercury etc...

The last NY PCB report I saw was done in 1995/96 (?), and the overall average of Hudson caught Striped Bass was between 2 and 3 PPM.. and the LI Sound/ Block Island sound fish were just over 1 PPM on average.

The farther you got from the Troy/Hudson River the lower the average levels.

 

The state of NY is pretty clear about their recomendations on eating certain fish, shellfish and waterfowl.

 

The thing that made the 1985 to 1989 Striped Bass, "no sale", such a bugaboo in RI, was the fact that it was a political game back in 1985 to try and stop the sale of Striped Bass. It worked for a while, however it had little to do with safety as we couldn't "sell" them... but there were only warnings on "personal consumption" for Striped Bass... and not Bluefish or tomale etc... When the Striped Bass commercial fishermen insisted that ALL the RI seafood be tested, the RI Health department saw a big political problem looming if they did that... and maybe would have to close... say...the Lobster fishery ?

Needless to say they dropped the Striped Bass "ban" before it was to late.

We haven't heard much from them since.

 

I guess how we all deal with these NY statements on eating our fish and game is up to each one of us...

but I haven't rushed out and bought a gas mask, like everbody else, just yet either.

Rhodester

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