A new study finds that the FDA seriously underestimated the health risks from contaminants in Gulf of Mexico seafood. The study was led by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which then submitted a petition to the FDA requesting that it set stricter safety standards for chemical contamination in seafood from the region. NRDC asserts that the agency had relied on "flawed or outdated assumptions" that allowed up to 10,000 times the safe levels of contamination. Pregnant women, children, and people who eat a lot of seafood are most vulnerable.
The study raised concerns about serious deficiencies in the risk assessments the FDA used to establish the safety of Gulf seafood. NRDC is particularly concerned about a group of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are found in crude oil and have been linked to cancer, birth defects, neurological impacts, and liver disease. Naphthalene was one of the most frequently detected chemicals in Gulf seafood after the massive BP oil spill in 2010.
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