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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 24, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Water quality and fish consumption: Include other affected groups

Little has been said about the other people who are directly affected because they consume the fish and shellfish harvested from the state’s waters.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans (AAPI) account for 10 percent of the state’s population and projections to 2030 predict that percentage will not decrease. This is the only state with AAPI fish and shellfish consumption studies that have been published in peer-reviewed, scientific journals. AAPI consumption rates are in the same range as those documented for Washington state’s Native Americans. These data provide information about the species that are eaten, the parts which are consumed, how the food is prepared, as well as the source of the food.

The studies also show that women have a slightly higher rate than men and that the average AAPI women’s body weight is about two-thirds of the proposed higher value in the water-quality calculation. A Washington state Department of Health study of Japanese and Korean women of childbearing age showed some the highest levels of mercury identified in relation to fish consumption in the US.

Hence, a water quality regulation protective of AAPIs should include a high consumption rate and a body weight that represents a vulnerable group: AAPI women of childbearing age.

Roseanne Lorenzana, diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology and affiliate associate professor at the UW School of Public Health

Comments | More in Environment | Topics: Asian Americans, fish consumption, Native Americans

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