As the “seafood safety” debate intensifies, my research team continues to find dangerous levels of petroleum hydrocarbons in a variety of seafood samples – from jellyfish to royal red shrimp to oysters. The latest example (see below) is a highly contaminated 11-pound red snapper caught off the coast of Pensacola in September. The certified lab results show the viscera (i.e., internal organs) to be contaminated with nearly 3,000 PPM of total petroleum hydrocarbons – a dangerous level by any standard. Such high levels of toxicity in the internal organs indicate the snapper may have eaten contaminated food, like zoaplankton, which represents another troubling entry point into the food chain. These results clearly call into question the safety of the seafood coming out of the Gulf.
Sample description: Red Snapper – 11 lbs.
Sampled on: September 2010 by commercial fishing captain
Sample location: 30 + miles SW of Pensacola, FL
Testing by: ALS Laboratory of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
The skin-on filet and viscera of the red snapper were tested separately. The filet was found to be contaminated with 87 mg/Kg, (parts per million), of total petroleum hydrocarbons, of which 53 mg/Kg were in the C17 to C35 range. The viscera were found to be contaminated with 2,970 mg/Kg, (parts per million), of total petroleum hydrocarbons, of which 1,784 mg/Kg were in the C17 to C35 range, and 263 ppm were in the C36 to C50 range. These are dangerously high contamination levels.
The petroleum hydrocarbons showed a characteristic series of major peaks at every third carbon number. This petroleum hydrocarbon pattern has shown up repeatedly among crabs, fish, and many other contaminated organisms in the Gulf. This pattern may be indicative of the red snapper consuming contaminated prey, like zoaplankton, which are lower on the food chain. Other researchers have confirmed that zoaplankton – a common food for snappers – show substantial contamination from BP crude oil.
See certified lab results here: snapperdata
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