Tests of Gulf oysters show carcinogenic heavy metal at 150-200 above times the safe level set by EPA


Private Seafood Tests Uncover Toxins Missed By Feds, Susan Buchanan for the Huffington Post, February 8, 2011:

... Peter Brabeck, environmental monitor at the nonprofit Louisiana Bucket Brigade, said last week, "we received test results a week ago from samples of oysters collected in Terrebonne Bay and Grand Bayou Felicity in Lafourche Parish." Those samples were tested by a Wisconsin lab run by Pace Analytical Services, which also has a sediment-and-water lab in St. Rose, La. The Bucket Brigade sent three, separate samples to Wisconsin, where they were chemically tested in batches of 7 to 9 oysters each.

"To my horror, the results showed extremely elevated levels of cadmium -- which is associated with oil from the BP spill," Brabeck said. The cadmium detected was 150 to 200 times what's considered safe for human consumption by the Environmental Protection Agency's carcinogenicity 'RfD' or oral reference doses for food, he said.

When asked about reference doses, a U.S. EPA spokesman in Washington, said "information can be found at the RfD table on our Integrated Risk Information System web page for cadmium." The agency's RfD for human studies involving chronic, cadmium exposure is 1E-3 mg/kg/day for food. "The E in those numbers refers to exponents in scientific notation," he said. Health information is posted on the agency's IRIS, based on reviews of chronic, toxicity data by EPA scientists.

Brabeck said "the reason we had oysters tested for cadmium is that it's a carcinogen that can linger in the body for 20 to 30 years, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Food and Drug Administration labs don't test for it." Manufacturing facilities might have been the source of the cadmium, he said, but added "since these oysters came from a heavily oiled area, I would lean toward them being contaminated from BP's finest."

Read the report here.

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