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Potential Health Risks from Dioxin like Compounds and PCBs Measured in Catfish in Southern Mississippi

  • Challenge: When studies of dioxins, furans, and PCBs in the blood of humans in the South are conducted, they rarely account for dietary characteristics of the local population.
  • Approach: Farmed catfish were purchased from local markets and fish farms while wild-caught catfish were fished directly from one of three rivers in Mississippi. Estimates of daily dietary intake and theoretical cancer risks associated with consumption of these catfish were calculated.
  • Findings: The amount of catfish consumed by some groups, African Americans for example, can increase dioxin blood levels significantly. Contrary to previous studies, farm-raised catfish compared to wild-caught catfish had lower levels of both dioxin-like and non-dioxin-like compounds. If previous studies of local citizens blood had considered dietary intake then they would not have inaccurately associated aerial emissions from local industry to be the cause of the elevated blood levels. It is important, when studying dioxins and other persistent organic pollutants to account for blood dietary trends.

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