Public Health Café on Seafood Safety held in October, 2012

The Community Outreach & Ethics Core (COEC) at the Center has been thinking about issues around seafood safety. On Tues, October 9th, we're offering a Public Health Cafe on the topic: Seafood: It's Healthy, But Is it Safe to Eat?

Here's why seafood safety is an issue: Eating seafood is extremely healthy. Fish and shellfish contain protein and healthy unsaturated fat. It also has B-vitamins, Vitamin D, and essential trace minerals. The American Heart Association recommends eating 2 fish meals each week. Yet fish contain persistent bioaccumulative toxics (PBTs) such as PCBs and PAHs that can cause cancer; hormone disrupting BPA; mercury that can cause neurological damage; and lead that affects the nervous system, reproductive fitness, and fetal and child growth and development.

Seafood is a hot topic in Washington right now. The Dept of Ecology (DOE) is working to revise the Fish Consumption Rate (FCR). The FCR defines the amount of fish and seafood consumed per day by residents of Washington. Presently, the DOE has 2 fish consumption rates: 6.5 grams per day or one fish fillet per month is the FCR used in water quality standards. 54 grams per day or 7 fish meals per month is the FCR used for cleanup regulations. Many Washington residents eat more seafood than that, and some populations are especially high fish consumers. Surveys show that an average adult in the Asian and Pacific Islander population in Washington eats 117 grams per day or 15 fish meals per month; an average adult member of the Suquamish Tribe eats 214 grams or one fish meal every day. One in twenty Suquamish tribal members eats 489 grams or two fish meals every day.

DOE believes the fish consumption rates should protect all people in WA. This means the present FCRs of 6.5 grams for water quality and 54 grams for cleanup standards are too low. Stricter emissions and cleanup standards in Washington will make seafood safer to eat. But increasing the FCR is contentious because setting stricter standards requires less wastewater discharge and more water treatment. This is expensive for business and industry. DOE must recommend an FCR and the WA State Legislature must approve it.

Our speakers at the Public Health Cafe are UW professor Dr. Elaine Faustman, toxicologist in the School of Public Health, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, and; Alberto Rodriguez, Program Manager with the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition. Elaine's research interests include risk assessment, developmental toxicology, and molecular mechanisms of metals and pesticides. Elaine was an expert consultant on the United Nations World Health Organization 2011 Report on the Risks and Benefits of Fish Consumption. Alberto works with community groups and government agencies to coordinate clean up of the Duwamish River, a Superfund site and the most polluted waterway in Puget Sound.

We hope you will join us:

What: Public Health Cafe. Seafood: It's Healthy, But is it Safe to Eat?
When: Tuesday, October 9th, 6:30 - 8:00 pm
Where: Chaco Canyon Cafe,  3770 SW Alaska ( 2 blocks east of 38th) in West Seattle
Who: Free and open to all ages. No science background required.

1 comment:

  1. You are exactly right that American Heart Association recommends eating 2 fish meals each week. Visit Site