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Salmon Farmed Fish are Foul

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There's something very fishy about farm-raised salmon - they contain far more toxic chemicals than wild salmon, a disturbing new study concludes.

In fact, farmed salmon have such high toxin levels that fish-eaters should carefully limit how much they consume, according to researchers at three universities.

They place the blame on the feed given the captive fish, which helps make them fleshier, but can contain a Pandora's box of poisons.

Among those chemicals are PCBs, dioxins, toxaphene, dieldrin and DDT - some of which are known or suspected cancer-causing agents.

"[This] leaves little room for the farmed fish industry to argue away the problems of polluted farmed seafood," said Jane Houlihan of the Washington-based Environmental Working Group, which studies health issues.

Several Manhattan eateries said last night the key to safe salmon is to buy from reputable farms that have their own labs to test the fish regularly.

"It depends what farm you buy from," said Ed Brown, chef of the Sea Grill in Rockefeller Center.

In the latest study, scientists from Cornell University, Indiana University and the University at Albany analyzed toxic contaminants in 700 farmed and wild salmon taken from markets in 16 cities in Europe and North America.

The worst was farmed salmon from Boston; San Francisco; Toronto; London; Paris; Edinburgh; Frankfurt, Germany; and Oslo, Norway, the studies found.

Not as bad, but still alarming, was the farmed salmon from markets in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Chicago and Vancouver.

Toxin levels in those fish suggested people eat no more than two meals of them a month, experts said.

Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

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