Fish is a good source of protein, and we are encouraged to consume more of it. Low in calories and packed with omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a favourite seafood across the world. As healthy as it is, not all varieties of this fish is safe for consumption.
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A UN report in 2017 estimated that there are more than 51 trillion microplastic -tiny fragments of plastic - particles in the sea. These tiny particles are ingested by sea animals and because they are so small, they are hardly visible to the human eye, making them the more dangerous.
Studies over the past couple of years point to microplastic contamination of salmon in particular. One such study in 2019, found that salmon, sardine, and kilka fishmeal from Iran contain between 4,000 and 6,000 microplastics per killigram. Researchers posited that:
the abundance of microplastics could transfer hazardous pollutants to seafood (e.g., fishes and prawns) leading to cancer risk in human beings.
Apart from cancer, microplastics have been linked to conditions related to the nervous system, kidneys, respiratory system, skin among others.
Should you give it up?
Microplastics are insidious in the sense that commonly consumed products like beer, honey, sea salt, tea bag, bottled water, have all been exposed to microplastic carriers, according to Forbes News. So, although it has been established that microplastics could impact human health, more research is needed in this area.
For instance, some studies show that not all sources of fish contain these particles. Also, the next time you have a salmon, you might want to find out its feed source as a recent sample of 26 fishmeal found the majority to be contaminated with microplastics, according to EatThisNotThat!