PCBs in Farmed Salmon

Problem: High concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were found in some farmed salmon. Salmon farms use feed made from fatty fish and fish oils. Since PCBs in the environment accumulate in the fatty tissues of animals, this diet results in farmed salmon with high concentrations of the chemical. PCBs are known to cause cancer and are linked to a host of other health effects, including effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, endocrine system and other problems.

CEH Action: In 2004, CEH notified fifty leading salmon farms and seafood distributors about the high levels of PCBs found in their products. The action intended to influence the industry to change salmon farms’ feeding practices, to significantly reduce the PCB levels in their fish.

Solution: In response to the legal action, leading salmon producers adopted feed made with soy and other plant-based ingredients, to reduce the PCB levels in their farmed salmon.

What You Can Do: If you buy salmon, look for wild salmon – SalmonAid has great resources and information.


Lawsuit Targets Salmon Pollution, Berkeley Daily Planet, January 30, 2004