A new study has concluded that the FDA severely underrated the risk of contaminants in seafood following the BP oil spill of 2010, according to Environmental Health Perspectives (via Alternet).
The report, conducted by non-governmental scientists, says that 53 percent of Gulf shrimp samples tested revealed “levels above concern” of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
Some cases showed carcinogenic levels up to 10,000 times more than what is considered safe.
This leaves pregnant women, children and big seafood eaters at risk to develop issues stemming from the consumption of these chemicals. Prenatal exposure to PAHs has been shown to lower IQs and increase the risk of asthma, heart malformations and low birth weight.
The researchers at the Natural Resources Defense Council also included internal FDA emails — procured using the Freedom of Information Act — that showed a concerted effort to downplay the effects of the contaminants. Emails also showed decisions to ignore alarms raised by FDA staff concerning this issue.
The report calls on the FDA to update their current risk assessment of seafood.
In response, the FDA says that setting higher protective health measures will “do more harm than good,” since people would have to remove more food from their home than necessary. Both the NRDC and Alternet have noted that there was no scientific backing provided for this claim.