Researchers from the Natural Resources Defence Council (NDRC) said the FDA seriously underestimated the cancer risk from contaminants that can accumulate in seafood when the agency allowed commercial fishing to resume in the Gulf of Mexico -- where the leak occurred 41 miles off the Louisiana coast -- after the disaster.
The study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that by using flawed assumptions and outdated risk assessment methods, the FDA allowed contamination up to 10,000 times the level deemed safe, and failed to identify risks for pregnant women and children.
Based on the results, the NRDC filed a petition Wednesday asking the FDA to protect the public - especially pregnant women, children and people who eat a lot of seafood -- by setting a standard that limits the level of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in seafood.
PAHs are chemicals found in oil, industrial pollution and urban runoff that can cause cancer, birth defects, neurological delays and liver damage.
"Our findings add to a long list of evidence that FDA is overlooking the risks from chemical contaminants in food," study author Miriam Rotkin-Ellman said. "We must not wait for people to get sick or cancer rates to rise, we need FDA to act now to protect the food supply."
From the October 13, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.