quinta-feira, 8 de dezembro de 2011

Not So Sexy: Hidden Chemicals in Perfume and Cologne

A rose may be a rose. But that rose-like fragrance in your perfume may be something else entirely, concocted from any number of the fragrance industry’s 3,100 stock chemical ingredients, the blend of which is almost always kept hidden from the consumer.
Makers of popular perfumes, colognes and body sprays market their scents with terms like “floral,” “exotic,” or “musky,” but they don’t disclose that many scents are actually a complex cocktail of natural essences and synthetic chemicals – often petrochemicals. Laboratory tests commissioned by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and analyzed by Environmental Working Group revealed 38 secret chemicals in 17 name brand fragrance products, topped by American Eagle Seventy Seven with 24, Chanel Coco with 18, and Britney Spears Curious and Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio with 17.
The average fragrance product tested contained 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label. Among them are chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety in personal care products.
Also in the ranks of undisclosed ingredients are chemicals with troubling hazardous properties or with a propensity to accumulate in human tissues. These include diethyl phthalate, a chemical found in 97 percent of Americans (Silva 2004) and linked to sperm damage in human epidemiological studies (Swan 2008), and musk ketone, a synthetic fragrance ingredient that concentrates in human fat tissue and breast milk (Hutter 2009; Reiner 2007).
 This complex mix of clandestine compounds in popular colognes and perfumes makes it impossible for consumers to make informed decisions about the products they consider buying.

The federal government is equally uninformed. A review of government records shows that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not assessed the vast majority of these secret fragrance chemicals for safety when used in spray-on personal care products such as fragrances. Nor have most been evaluated by the safety review panel of the International Fragrance Association or any other publicly accountable institution.

Fragrance secrecy is legal due to a giant loophole in the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973, which requires companies to list cosmetics ingredients on the product labels but explicitly exempts fragrance. By taking advantage of this loophole, the cosmetics industry has kept the public in the dark about the ingredients in fragrance, even those that present potential health risks or build up in people’s bodies.

Ingredients not in a product’s hidden fragrance mixture must be listed on the label. As a result, manufacturers disclose some chemical constituents on ingredient lists but lump others together in the generic category of “fragrance.” In fact, “fragrances” are typically mixtures of many different secret chemicals, like those uncovered in this study. On average, the 17 name-brand fragrances tested in this study contained nearly equal numbers of secret and labeled ingredients, with 14 chemicals kept secret but found through testing, and 15 disclosed on labels.

Widespread exposure and a long-standing culture of secrecy within the fragrance industry continue to put countless people at risk of contact sensitization to fragrances with poorly tested and intentionally unlabeled ingredients (Schnuch 2007).

According to EWG analysis, the fragrance industry has published safety assessments for only 34% of the unlabeled ingredients (for details of the analysis, see Methods section). The unassessed chemicals range from food additives whose safety in perfumes has not been assessed to chemicals with limited public safety data such as synthetic musk fragrances, which accumulate in the human body and may be linked to hormone disruption.

Some chemicals that are disclosed on the labels of the products in this report also raise safety concerns. They include sunscreen and ultraviolet-protector chemicals associated with hormone disruption (Schlumpf 2004) and 24 chemical sensitizers that can trigger allergic reactions (European Commission Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products (EC) 1999).

To make matters worse, FDA lacks the authority to require manufacturers to test cosmetics for safety, including fragranced products, before they are sold to consumers. As a result, people using perfume, cologne, body spray and other scented cosmetics like lotion and aftershave are unknowingly exposed to chemicals that may increase their risk for certain health problems.

 Product tests initiated by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and subsequent analyses, detailed in this report, reveal that widely recognized brand-name perfumes and colognes contain secret chemicals, sensitizers, potential hormone disruptors and chemicals not assessed for safety:

  • Secret chemicals: Laboratory tests revealed 38 secret chemicals in 17 name-brand products, with an average of 14 secret chemicals per product. American Eagle Seventy Seven contained 24 secret chemicals, nearly twice the average found in other products tested.
  • Multiple sensitizers: The products tested contained an average of 10 chemicals that are known to be sensitizers and can trigger allergic reactions such as asthma, wheezing, headaches and contact dermatitis. All of these were listed on product labels. Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio contained 19 different sensitizing chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions, more than any other product tested.
  • Multiple hormone disruptors: A total of 12 different hormone-disrupting chemicals were found in the tested products, with an average of four in each product. Three products each contained seven different chemicals with the potential to disrupt the hormone system: Halle by Halle Berry, Quicksilver and Jennifer Lopez J. Lo Glow. In each product, six of these chemicals mimic the hormone estrogen, and the seventh is associated with thyroid effects. Some of these potential hormone disruptors were listed on labels; others were undisclosed and were uncovered in product testing.
  • Widespread use of chemicals that have not been assessed for safety: A review of government records shows that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not assessed the vast majority of fragrance ingredients in personal care products for safety. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), an industry-funded and self policing body, has assessed only 19 of the 91 ingredients listed on labels or found in testing for the 17 products assessed in this study. The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) and the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM), which develop and set voluntary standards for chemicals in the “fragrance” component of products, have assessed only 27 of the 91 ingredients listed on labels or found in testing for the 17 products assessed in this study, based on a review of assessments published in the past 25 years.
Products were tested by Analytical Sciences, an independent laboratory in Petaluma, California. The lab found, in all, 40 chemicals in the tested fragrance products. Thirty-eight of these were secret, or unlabeled, for at least one of the products containing them, while the other two were listed on all relevant product labels. Ingredient labels disclosed the presence of another 51 chemical ingredients, giving a total of 91 chemical ingredients altogether in the tested products, including hidden and disclosed ingredients combined. Of the 17 products tested, 13 were purchased in the U.S. and four in Canada.

When sprayed or applied on the skin, many chemicals from perfumes, cosmetics and personal care products are inhaled. Others are absorbed through the skin. Either way, many of these chemicals can accumulate in the body. As a result, the bodies of most Americans are polluted with multiple cosmetics ingredients. This pollution begins in the womb and continues through life.

A recent EWG study found Galaxolide and Tonalide, two synthetic musks, in the cord blood of newborn babies (EWG 2009). Both musks contaminate people and the environment worldwide, have been associated with toxicity to the endocrine system (van der Burg 2008) and were identified in the majority of products tested for this study. Similarly, a pregnant woman’s use of some fragrances and other cosmetics frequently may expose her growing fetus to diethyl phthalate (DEP), a common perfume solvent linked to abnormal development of reproductive organs in baby boys and sperm damage in adult men (Washington Toxics Coalition 2009). New research also links prenatal exposure of DEP to clinically diagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder in children (Engel 2010). This analysis found DEP in 12 of 17 products tested, at levels ranging from 30 parts per million (ppm) to 32,000 ppm in Eternity for Women.

Numerous other products used daily, such as shampoos, lotions, bath products, cleaning sprays, air fresheners and laundry and dishwashing detergents, also contain strongly scented, volatile ingredients that are hidden behind the word “fragrance.” Some of these ingredients react with ozone in the indoor air, generating many potentially harmful secondary air pollutants such as formaldehyde and ultrafine particles (Nazaroff 2004).

People have the right to know which chemicals they are being exposed to. They have the right to expect the government to protect people, especially vulnerable populations, from hazardous chemicals. In addition to required safety assessments of ingredients in cosmetics, the laws must be changed to require the chemicals in fragrance to be fully disclosed and publicly accessible on ingredient labels.

As our test results show, short of sending your favorite perfume to a lab for testing, shoppers have no way of knowing exactly which of the 3,100 fragrance ingredients may be hiding in their beauty products or even in their child’s baby shampoo. This study focused on several categories of chemicals – specifically volatile compounds, semi-volatile compounds and synthetic musks. The laboratory analyses, while thorough, were not exhaustive, which means that additional chemicals of concern may also be present in the tested products.

Fonte: Environmental Working Group


sábado, 19 de novembro de 2011

A carne é fraca

Veganismo e vegetarianismo ganham adeptos com uma filosofia que descarta o consumo de carne, sensível ao sofrimento dos animais e à ecologia. A questão ética que levantam implica impasses não resolvidos. Mas não há dúvida de que o impacto ambiental da pecuária no planeta é cada vez maior.

Milhares de pessoas vêm abandonando o hábito de comer carne em busca de um estilo de vida alternativo inspirado pela rejeição ética ao consumo de alimentos de origem animal. Várias celebridades já abraçaram essa bandeira, como o ex-beatle Paul McCartney e o presidente norteamericano Barack Obama. Mas, longe de ser um modismo, o vegetarianismo é um movimento com 2 mil anos de história e 200 anos de militância: nos Estados Unidos, um em cada cinco universitários já aboliu a carne. No Brasil, a novidade é o avanço da sua vertente mais radical, o veganismo. Enquanto a dieta vegetariana recusa todo tipo de carne, mas consome queijo, leite, ovos, mel ou iogurte, o veganismo, surgido em 1944, na Inglaterra, a partir de uma dissidência do vegetarianismo, não admite nada derivado de animal, seja comida, seja roupas, seja cosméticos ou joias.

No fim do ano passado, uma pesquisa da Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing de São Paulo contabilizou 4% de vegetarianos entre jovens de São Paulo e Rio, das classes A, B e C. Nas grandes cidades aumenta o número de restaurantes, sites, publicações e a oferta de produtos próprios para o consumo vegetariano. As duas maiores indústrias de carne do país, a Sadia e a Perdigão (atualmente unificadas na Brasil Foods), já criaram linhas de alimentos vegetarianos à base de proteína de soja. No ano passado, um grupo de estudiosos fundou a Sociedade Vegana para estabelecer um marco de referência teórica e fornecer informação ao movimento. No Orkut, um site da comunidade vegana reúne 19 mil adeptos.

Ao largo dessa efervescência, o consumo de carne cresce aceleradamente no Brasil devido à melhoria na distribuição de renda e à democratização do consumo. Segundo o Ministério da Agricultura, o consumo per capita de bovinos atingiu 37,5 quilos em 2010, 5% a mais do que em 2009 – apesar de uma alta de 38% no preço. Com a melhoria das dietas, a tendência é aumentar o consumo de proteínas. O vegetarianismo, portanto, é um nicho, e o veganismo o nicho do nicho.

Muitos dos que estão aderindo à dieta ética atualmente rejeitam a carne por motivos ambientais. A pecuária é o maior emissor de metano, um dos gases mais poluidores do efeito estufa que esquenta a temperatura do planeta, 23 vezes mais duradouro na atmosfera do que o dióxido de carbono. O impacto da criação e do abate de animais sobre o ambiente e a saúde pública também preocupa órgãos como a Organização das Nações Unidas para Agricultura e Alimentação (FAO) e o Painel Intergovernamental de Mudanças Climáticas (IPCC). 

Opção existencial
“O que eu mais gosto no veganismo é saber que passei mais um dia sem ter de matar alguém para continuar vivo”, orgulha-se o tatuador paulista Fernando Franco Enei Franceschi, 36 anos, mais conhecido por Teté. Vegetariano desde 1993, Teté não tolera os métodos industriais de criação intensiva e de abate dos animais, que considera cruéis. “Acho intolerável os bichos sofrerem e ser sacrificados para nos alimentar”, diz. Em 1997, ele aderiu ao veganismo, adotando a decisão de não mais compactuar com a exploração dos animais.
Teté não compra produtos feitos com couro, lã ou materiais provenientes de bichos. De casacos a tênis, sua opção sempre recai em modelos manufaturados com lona, algodão, materiais sintéticos e jeans. Quanto aos xampus, sabonetes, cremes de barbear e demais itens de perfumaria e higiene, só usa os que respeitam a filosofia vegana, de não incluir substâncias animais na composição. “Faço duas tatuagens por dia. Esse é meu ganha pão. Mas mesmo a tinta que uso para tatuar não contém nenhum derivado animal”, afirma.

Fonte: Revista Planeta

terça-feira, 21 de junho de 2011

Cientists say that the world's oceans are in 'shocking' decline.

The oceans are in a worse state than previously suspected, according to an expert panel of scientists.

In a new report, they warn that ocean life is "at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history". They conclude that issues such as over-fishing, pollution and climate change are acting together in ways that have not previously been recognized.
The impacts, they say, are already affecting humanity.

The panel was convened by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), and brought together experts from different disciplines, including coral reef ecologists, toxicologists, and fisheries scientists.

Its report will be formally released later this week. "The findings are shocking," said Alex Rogers, IPSO's scientific director and professor of conservation biology at Oxford University.
"As we considered the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the oceans, the implications became far worse than we had individually realized.

"We've sat in one forum and spoken to each other about what we're seeing, and we've ended up with a picture showing that almost right across the board we're seeing changes that are happening faster than we'd thought, or in ways that we didn't expect to see for hundreds of years."

These "accelerated" changes include melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, sea level rise, and release of methane trapped in the sea bed.

.
Fish at market  
Some species are already fished way beyond their limits - and may also be affected by other threats

 
Fast changes

"The rate of change is vastly exceeding what we were expecting even a couple of years ago," said Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a coral specialist from the University of Queensland in Australia.

"So if you look at almost everything, whether it's fisheries in temperate zones or coral reefs or Arctic sea ice, all of this is undergoing changes, but at a much faster rate than we had thought."

But more worrying than this, the team noted, are the ways in which different issues act synergistically to increase threats to marine life.

Some pollutants, for example, stick to the surfaces of tiny plastic particles that are now found in the ocean bed. This increases the amounts of these pollutants that are consumed by bottom-feeding fish. Plastic particles also assist the transport of algae from place to place, increasing the occurrence of toxic algal blooms - which are also caused by the influx of nutrient-rich pollution from agricultural land.

In a wider sense, ocean acidification, warming, local pollution and overfishing are acting together to increase the threat to coral reefs - so much so that three-quarters of the world's reefs are at risk of severe decline.


“The challenges are vast; but unlike previous generations, we know what now needs to happen” - Dan Laffoley IUCN

Coral and fish  
Coral reefs are subject to "multiple stressors" that could destroy many within a human generation

 
Carbon deposits

Life on Earth has gone through five "mass extinction events" caused by events such as asteroid impacts; and it is often said that humanity's combined impact is causing a sixth such event.The IPSO report concludes that it is too early to say definitively.

But the trends are such that it is likely to happen, they say - and far faster than any of the previous five. "What we're seeing at the moment is unprecedented in the fossil record - the environmental changes are much more rapid," Professor Rogers told BBC News.

"We've still got most of the world's biodiversity, but the actual rate of extinction is much higher [than in past events] - and what we face is certainly a globally significant extinction event."

The report also notes that previous mass extinction events have been associated with trends being observed now - disturbances of the carbon cycle, and acidification and hypoxia (depletion of oxygen) of seawater.

Levels of CO2 being absorbed by the oceans are already far greater than during the great extinction of marine species 55 million years ago (during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum), it concludes.


Flowers between solar panels  
In the long run, greenhouse gas emissions must be cut to conserve ocean life, the report concludes


Blue planet

The report's conclusions will be presented at UN headquarters in New York this week, when government delegates begin discussions on reforming governance of the oceans. Flowers between solar panels In the long run, greenhouse gas emissions must be cut to conserve ocean life, the report concludes

IPSO's immediate recommendations include:

-  stopping exploitative fishing now, with special emphasis on the high seas where currently there is little effective regulation
-  mapping and then reducing the input of pollutants including plastics, agricultural fertilisers and human waste
-  making sharp reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon dioxide levels are now so high, it says, that ways of pulling the gas out of the atmosphere need to be researched urgently - but not using techniques, such as iron fertilisation, that lead to more CO2 entering the oceans.

"We have to bring down CO2 emissions to zero within about 20 years," Professor Hoegh-Guldberg told BBC News.

"If we don't do that, we're going to see steady acidification of the seas, heat events that are wiping out things like kelp forests and coral reefs, and we'll see a very different ocean."

Another of the report's authors, Dan Laffoley, marine chair of the World Commission on Protected Areas and an adviser to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), admitted the challenges were vast.

"But unlike previous generations, we know what now needs to happen," he said.
"The time to protect the blue heart of our planet is now."

BBC  source:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13796479

quarta-feira, 15 de junho de 2011

Alimentação vegetariana para crianças

As recomendações de uma mãe que optou por este regime para os filhos

Alimentação vegetariana para criançasOs alimentos de origem vegetal podem substituir por completo a carne e o peixe na alimentação das crianças.
Essa é a convicção de Gabriela Oliveira, jornalista e autora do livro «Alimentação Vegetariana para Bebés e Crianças» (Arte Plural Edições), mãe de três crianças vegetarianas.
Adepta do vegetarianismo, não hesitou em adoptar o mesmo regime alimentar para os filhos. O seu desenvolvimento saudável levou-a a querer partilhar com outros pais conselhos, recomendações e receitas que tornam as crianças menos dependentes de produtos de origem animal.

O que é que a levou, como mãe, a apostar numa alimentação vegetariana para os seus filhos?
Foi o facto de ser vegetariana e de conhecer bem as vantagens de não comer carne. Sabia que, do ponto de vista nutricional, não lhes ia faltar nada e os meus filhos sempre tiveram um bom desenvolvimento, desde bebés. E foi a vontade de evitar a morte de mais animais e de poupar o planeta.
É que, quer se queira, quer não, a terra não tem recursos suficientes para manter os padrões ocidentais de consumo de carne. Se a população mundial comesse o que os portugueses comem, não havia planeta que resistisse!


Afirma, de forma muito peremptória, no início do livro que a alimentação das crianças não necessita de incluir carne ou peixe para ser completa e equilibrada. Essa afirmação tem base científica ou resulta apenas das suas constatações enquanto mãe de três crianças vegetarianas?
Tem base científica. Aliás, consultei várias fontes, principalmente publicações sobre nutrição e informei-me sobre a opinião de dois grandes pediatras portugueses (Mário Cordeiro e Paulo Oom) que são favoráveis. Posso até citar a Associação Dietética Americana e dos Dietistas do Canadá que publicaram, em 2005, uma tomada de posição sobre o tema, referindo que as dietas vegetarianas são adequadas para todas as etapas do ciclo da vida, mesmo durante a gravidez, lactação, infância e adolescência.

Aborda também o problema da pressão que sentiu, sobretudo durante a sua primeira gravidez e os primeiros meses após o nascimento do seu filho. Que pressões foram essas e como lidou com elas?
O primeiro filho é sempre alvo de muita atenção e quem está de fora tem tendência a olhar-nos como inexperiente. As pressões eram no sentido de alertar e de testar até que ponto eu sabia o que podia dar ao bebé. Porque, na altura, a pediatra e as enfermeiras que acompanharam os primeiros meses do meu filho não sabiam quase nada sobre o assunto. Às vezes diziam «Se é vegetal, pode dar tudo», o que também não é verdade, porque o sistema digestivo dos bebés é muito frágil.

Os seus filhos nunca comeram carne? Se não, alguma vez pediram para provar?
Nunca, eles até dizem que eu sou chata por perguntar tantas vezes se eles querem provar. Têm essa liberdade mas recusaram sempre porque lhes faz imensa impressão comer o corpo de um animal que teve de morrer.

Acha que é importante ouvir as crianças sobre a decisão de serem vegetarianas?
Claro que sim. A partir do momento em que as crianças já conseguem manter uma conversa, os pais podem explicar a decisão e tentar perceber se os filhos estão receptivos.
Como noutras questões, cabe aos pais escolherem o que acham melhor mas também não faz sentido obrigar, porque se for algo imposto, quando as crianças crescem podem mudar radicalmente. Conheço famílias que, quando os filhos tinham 5-6 anos, chegaram a um acordo. Os pais continuavam a não cozinhar carne mas, fora de casa, os filhos podiam comer o que quisessem, dentro das regras da boa alimentação.


Refere no livro que não aconselha que as crianças sejam vegan. É porque é um regime muito restrivo que exclui todos os alimentos de origem animal ou existem outras razões?
Um bebé pode ser vegan, sem qualquer problema, porque hoje é fácil encontrar alimentos totalmente vegetarianos, como leite de soja para lactentes. E há imensos produtos enriquecidos com vitamina B12, que é a principal carência que pode ocorrer nesse regime. Mas, de facto, a partir do momento em que a criança entra na escola, pode ser complicado abdicar daquelas coisas que os colegas gostam, como bolos, gelados, chocolates…
É muito mais fácil seguir um regime ovo-lacto-vegetariano, como acontece na maioria dos casos que conheço. Mas, lá está, se os pais e os filhos quiserem mesmo ter uma alimentação vegan, têm esse direito.


A maioria das cantinas das escolas portuguesas não disponibiliza refeições vegetarianas, como referes no livro. Como é que resolveu o problema da alimentação dos seus filhos?
Basta apresentar uma declaração médica a informar que a criança segue um regime vegetariano. Foi o que eu fiz. A lei prevê estas situações, há uma circular do Ministério da Educação que diz que podem ser servidas ementas alternativas desde que sejam justificadas por receita médica ou declaração religiosa (circular nº14/DGIDC/2007, Anexo B, Ponto 6, alínea E).
No caso da escola não ter capacidade para preparar, então tem que permitir que o aluno leve de casa. Os meus filhos no jardim de infância levavam o substituto proteico para juntar ao prato do dia em vez da carne e, na escola do mais velho, a cozinheira aprendeu a cozinhar vegetariano, para ele e para outras crianças. E são escolas públicas!


Com base na sua experiência, que conselhos daria a uma mulher grávida que pretende fazer uma dieta vegetariana?
Se já era vegetariana antes de engravidar, não há qualquer problema em manter o mesmo tipo de alimentação, reforçando, claro, os níveis de ferro. Mas não aconselho nenhuma grávida a fazer mudanças radicais, tornando-se vegetariana nesta fase, porque é arriscado.
Mais vale, por exemplo, deixar a carne e substituir por peixe e alternar com os alimentos típicos da cozinha vegetariana, como a soja, o tofu, o seitan, as leguminosas e os cereais integrais.
Uma coisa simples que qualquer uma pode fazer é petiscar passas, figos e alperces secos, que são fontes excelentes de minerais.


E que conselhos daria a pais que possam querer começar a tornar os seus filhos menos dependente da carne e de outros produtos de origem animal?
Que experimentem, pelo menos, uma refeição vegetariana por semana. E até podem fazer o prato favorito mas substituindo a carne. Por exemplo, hambúrguer vegetariano no pão, salsichas de soja com arroz, soja à bolonhesa, etc. E, se os filhos forem esquisitos, o melhor é nem dizer que a comida é vegetariana. Eles comem e nem dão pela diferença.



Texto: Luis Batista Gonçalves

terça-feira, 7 de junho de 2011

A Vida no Ventre: O desenvolvimento de Animais

Uma produção impressionante e reveladora que mostra o útero materno e que consegue captar, em primeiro plano, as diversas mudanças e as sensações experimentadas pelo feto de diversos animais. Veja este documentário impressionante que demonstra que a vida no útero é muito mais complexa e bonita do que se pensava.

Documentário produzido pela National Geographic.




Ver mais vídeos:

http://www.mundofox.com.br/br/videos/vida-no-ventre/

sexta-feira, 13 de maio de 2011

Sea the Truth - Overfishing and the destruction of Oceans and Nature

Sea the Truth is based on numerous scientific publications that examine the problems of seas and oceans. Below follows an overview of the themes addressed in the film and a brief explanation.
Documentary made by the Political Party for Animals in Holand.

If you want to help protect the Earth, it is urgent to stop eating meat (fish and all others) or to reduce it as much as possible.




 http://www.SeaTheTruth.nl/en/ or http://www.GlobeTransformer.org

DEEP TROUBLE: WHALE MORTALITY CAUSED BY OVERFISHING

According to a report of the New Zealand news channel 3News sea mammals, among
which whales, are dying of malnutrition. The makers claim that this is
caused by overfishing. Watch the report here: http://www.3news.co.nz/Deep-Trouble-/tabid/371/articleID/169002/Default.aspx

FISHING POLICY AND QUOTA

Fishing policy around the world is destructive. Recommendations from scientists
on quotas are ignored by policy makers, wealthy countries plunder the
fishing territories of poor countries and bottom trawlers sow
destruction all over the seafloor with their dragnets. In Europe, 88% of
fish stocks have been overharvested, such as the blue fin tuna which
sadly is threatened with extinction.

EFFECTS OF FISHING ON MARINE ECOSYSTEMS

In addition to the effect on the fish stocks, fishing also affects all
other organisms in the same habitat or ecosystem. Whether the fish being
harvested are predatory or prey, the balance of the ecosystem is
disrupted and this can have serious consequences. The degree of
disruption strongly depends on the fishing method employed.

BYCATCH

The term bycatch has come to be used to refer to fish caught
unintentionally when fishermen fish for commercial fish. These kinds of
fish are not interesting to sell and as a consequence they are thrown
back into the ocean either death or mutilated. The average bycatch
worldwide is about 40.4% of the total amount of fish being caught. This
means that 3 kilos of consumed fish brings about 2 kilos of bycatch. In
total, 37 billion kilos of fish per year is wasted bycatch.

FISH SUFFERING

People once thought that fish could not feel anything when they are caught.
This idea was probably motivated because fish are cold blooded; this is
in contrast with humans who are warm blooded. However, the ability to
feel pain does not have anything to do with body temperature. From
research studying the behavior of fish, as well as the study of anatomy
and physiology, it turns out that fish have feelings and are in fact
able to feel pain. This means that the current methods to catch and kill
fish are in truth a torture for fish, moreover captured fish die of
suffocation: a process that can take up to several minutes or hours.

THE PLASTIC SOUP

Between Hawaii and San Francisco floats an enormous amount of rubbish -- a
plastic soup with a surface area of 8.6 million square kilometres. To
compare: This is 33 times greater than the surface area of the
Netherlands (41,528 km2). This plastic soup was 'discovered' by Charles
Moore when he sailed through this area with his boat and found himself
surrounded day in day out by plastic waste. He later returned with
scientific equipment to determine the soup's total size. The plastic
soup is a huge threat to a number of marine animals and mammals.

TOXINS IN FISH

We're told we should eat fish twice a week as it is packed with nutrition.
These healthy nutrients are however easily obtained from other food
sources, whereas fish may also contain large amounts of toxins. Mercury
and dioxins 'enjoy' the status of most researched toxins in fish.