NRW health authorities warn against eating self-caught eels from lakes in North Rhine-Westphalia. These could contain dioxins and sustainably damage health.
The State Office for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection warns consumers against eating wild eels they have fished for themselves. In laboratory tests, the pollutants dioxin and PCB were found in high concentrations. Experts have taken samples from a total of 127 wild eels from eleven different lakes in North Rhine-Westphalia. Almost all eels were found to have very high levels of various dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The waters were: Sieg, Erft, Wupper, Rur, Niers, Schwalm, Lippe, Ruhr, Rhein, Berkel and Urft-Talsperre. Eels bought at fish markets or supermarkets are exempt from this warning. No increased pollution levels were determined here.
Dioxins were not and are not produced in a targeted manner, but are created as by-products, especially in combustion processes. PCBs were used specifically, e.g. in transformers or as plasticizers in paints. Even though the use is now banned in almost all countries, both dioxins and PCBs are still present in the environment due to their low degradation and will continue to be in the long term. Thus, they can also be found in water and in the rivers. Other wild fish could also be affected by pollutants.
“Although the pollutant is no longer used, it is present everywhere in the environment because it is practically not broken down. We therefore find PCBs in our foodstuffs as well. ”Explained Dr. Heinrich Bottermann from the NRW Ministry of Consumer Protection.
Dioxins and PCBs are long-lasting compounds that are deposited in the fatty tissue and are only broken down very slowly. They accumulate in the environment mainly in high-fat foods, such as the particularly high-fat eel. By eating the fish, the chronic burden in humans continues. Long-term consequences include disorders of the immune and nervous system.
The ministry recommends that fishermen and family members refrain from consuming the wild eels they have fished for themselves from NRW waters. (sb)
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