BP Spill Dangers Underestimated

SUBHEAD: FDA underestimating Gulf residents' carcinogen exposure from eating seafood.

By Matthew McDermott on 9 December 2010 for TreeHugger - (http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/12/fda-underestimating-gulf-residents-carcinogen-exposure-seafood-gulf-oil-spill.php)

Image above: Photo of Gulf shrimp and crushed red peppers. From original article.

Something to bring the horror of the Gulf oil spill back fresh to memory: The NRDC says that the FDA is grossly underestimating the exposure to carcinogens in seafood that Gulf Coast residents have been and are being exposed to. It all comes down to how much seafood they eat versus the national average.

NRDC surveyed the seafood consumption habits of residents of the Gulf and found that they eat on average anywhere from 3.6-12.1 times as much seafood as the national average--a difference which was not acknowledged by the Federal government.

The survey notes that the rate of shrimp consumption along the coast significantly exceeded the rates the FDA used to calculate exposure to cancer-causing chemicals from seafood contaminated during the Gulf oil spill.

Though NRDC says the survey does not represent a random sampling of the population, "the results are noteworthy in that they clearly show that a considerable portion of Gulf Coast residents eat substantially more seafood that reflected in FDA's risk assessment."

Another discrepancy the NRDC discovered: 60% of people surveyed weighed less than the weight estimates used by the FDA, meaning that they may be more vulnerable to contaminants.

As a result of this work, NRDC and 36 Gulf Coast groups have sent a letter to the FDA urging that they reassess the risks of eating contaminated seafood based on the actual regional seafood consumption patterns.

See also on the Gulf Oil Spill: Gulf Oil Spill Grinds Local Seafood Business to a Halt (Video) Are You Eating the BP Gulf Oil Spill? BP Oil Spill Already Entering the Gulf Food Chain .

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