Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

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Industrial and agricultural pollutants such as dioxin, PCB's and pesticides like DDT have made their way into the food web over the years, are slow to degrade, and there is evidence that exposure to them over time can be of great detriment to our health.

Federal and state agencies monitor contamination levels in fish and shellfish and contaminated bodies of water are closed to commercial fishing, or an individual species of fish is banned from the marketplace.

Advisories for all states can be found at epa.gov/waterscience.

To reduce your exposure to persistent pollutants:

• Avoid wild freshwater and marine fish from industrialized areas prone to pollution.

• Avoid highly predaitory marine fish that eat large amounts of smaller inshore fish. Choose small fish of 5 pounds or less.

• Avoid the fatty tissues of fish where POPs accumulate. Remove the skin and the darker fat found under the skin and along the side and belly before eating.

• Do not eat the livers and viscera of finfish or lobster, crab and crayfish.

• Serve less fried fish. Frying can seal in the pollutants that might be in the fish's fat. Other methods let the fat drain off.

• Eat seafood caught far out at sea. Seafood from Alaska and the South Pacific tend to be free of POPs.

• Eat a variety of seafood from varying locations.