Earth Day 2013: Toxins in seafood, car-sharing, Paul Watson, and mines

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      Our Earth Day issue examines toxins in imported farmed seafood, Canadian mining in Africa, environmental assessments, a fracking blockade, and Paul Watson.

      Some imported farmed seafood is a toxic cocktail

      Pipeline activists put out call to fortify northern B.C. blockade

      Canada at the forefront of a controversial mining boom in Africa

      Vancouver's car-share programs offer plenty of choice

      Captain Paul Watson: Interview With a Pirate tells it like it is

      Environmental impact assessments are key for a better future



      Jane Barroll

      Apr 21, 2013 at 12:28pm

      While I appreciate your recent informative article "Shrimp in a Toxic Cocktail" (Georgia Straight April 17-25, 2013), how about the condition of our fish on our West Coast?

      Farmed fish, purchased in stores around British Columbia and exported to the US and China, have tested positive for three lethal fish viruses, including the dreaded ISA virus (aka salmon flu), salmon alpha viruses, and Piscine reovirus, which causes the wild salmon, which contract the virus from migrating past the fish farms, to have a heart attack, preventing them from swimming upriver.

      ISA is required to be reported by international law, but the current Canadian government and agencies want to protect the multi-billion dollar commercial aquaculture industry so have muzzled their scientists and denied its existence on the West Coast, as well as the findings of the Cohen Report, which the federal government itself commissioned.

      These viruses are affecting our wild salmon stocks on the West Coast. Last week I saw whole, flash frozen wild Sockeye salmon, sold on Granville Island, where I usually buy what was top quality fish, display visible signs of the diseases shown in Alexandra Morton's documentary:
      Salmon Confidential

      This documentary is currently on tour in BC and Olympia, Washington, with the support of Elizabeth May, Green Party, David Suzuki:
      and West Coast Environmental Law:

      Canadian tax payers are compensating the fish farmers for the disease outbreaks the farms are creating and you can be eating virus infected salmon when you buy BC farm and wild salmon. Norway and Chile have already lost billions of fish and dollars trying to eradicate at least ISA from their fish populations, both commercial and wild.

      Please publicize this issue to save our heritage for our children and grandchildren....

      Sebastian Pinheiro

      Apr 23, 2013 at 6:09am

      Congratulations for the broad approach in this glittering article. Of course toxins and residues can be detected in laboratory assays by government control. However, a much bigger problem for food safety and quality is the synergic effect of different contaminants, for example, obsogens, Insulin-like Growth Factor 1, endocrine disruptors and others, inducing irregular metabolism in microbes, vegetables, plants and animals.
      It is also very true that in some countries, for example, residues of Benzimidazol / Dithiocabamates fungicides increase the incidence of White Spot Syndrome Virus in shrimp. That shrimp will be selected trough quality control and won’t come to consumers in importer countries. Are the biological value and quality of the shrimp produced in those conditions a problem though?

      Tropical vegetables and fruits have the same problem, and those contaminated are returned to the exporters. However, minimal quantities of residues of pesticides (ACEPHATE, METHAMIDOPHOS), as TMDTPP, OMPA, PHOSGEN, (chemicals weapons) are not detected in laboratories. We have the same question about the biological value and quality.
      Brazil is the First Consumer of Pesticides in the World, and its citizens have to eat the fruit not accepted for export. That is dramatic.
      While the certification seals are very good as a warrant for the industrial countries, in poor countries they are only “sales of services of great corporations trough NGOs”, which increase incomes, with no impact on Health, Education, Social Organization or Quality, and with much fraud.

      In 1981-1983 I studied in Germany, where I saw the prohibition of Styrofoam in all food presentation, packaging in supermarket or “take out” meals because it was transformed into 7,8 Styrene Oxide trough enzymatic CYP450 in cells, which is highly mutagenic and carcinogenic… Today in the U.S., more than one hundred cities followed the Berkeley example and banned the Styrene foam, but in some countries their use increases. I see young students at universities, colleges, Schools and Daycare eating lunches and drinking teas/coffees in boxes, dishes, and cups of styrene foam. I ask myself:
      - How much p-hydroxystyrene is dissolved in a tea/coffee, soups, drinks
      - How much is converted in 7,8 Styrene Oxide?
      - And what are the consequences?