It’s rare for the Scribbler to scribble about the same thing two evenings in a row (endocrine -disrupting chemicals in the water) …but I’ve just stumbled over a paper reporting, get this, the “estrogen-like activity of seafood.”
Researchers in the Mediterranean caught 13 types of seafood including shrimp, cuttlefish, squid, and mackerel – all part of what they call “the Italian diet.” (Hey, their names are Garritano, Pinto, Calderisi, etc., so they should know.)
When they tested their samples’ fat tissues, they found that 38 percent had estrogen-blocking contaminants in them. In the most active sample, the tested tissue was 43 percent as active as real estrogen used in controls.
Which compounds were the ones mimicking the estrogen? That’s hard to say, with around 87,000 compounds on the EPA’s list of possibilities. The team sampled for seven common types of contaminants (all PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls) and found two really interesting results.
First, 59 percent of the samples showed at least one of the seven contaminant types. But more worryingly, there was no correlation between the degree of estrogen-mimicking and the amount of the seven contaminants found in the fish.
That means that the most powerful estrogen mimics were some other kind of chemical – something not routinely tested for. And here I thought ignorance was bliss. Maybe that was the estrogen talking.