Alarm in Norway over food contamination

NGO estimates that at least 40,000 at risk from PCBs, dioxins, found in seafood

A leading environmental group warned today that at least 40,000 Norwegians were at risk of health damage from PCBs and dioxins in fish and shellfish. According to the Norwegian Society for Conservation of Nature (NNV), PCB levels in the highest-risk group are more than sufficient to cause foetal damage and learning difficulties in children. At worst, up to 5% of the population, several hundred thousand, might be affected.

NNV says it bases its warning on public health studies in Sweden, the USA and Greenland. "We know that most of these toxins come from identified sources along our coast", said the group's Tom Erik Økland. "NNV demands that the minister of environment and the government start work immediately on cleaning up polluted fjords and harbours."

The group's warning has coincided with reports that government health authorities are conducting one of their biggest studies of dietary habits. The Norwegian Food Control Authority (SNT) confirms that 10,000 questionnaires have been circulated with a view to testing blood, urine and hair samples and correlating test results with consumption of seafood and game.

Follow Up:
NNV, tel: +47 22 40 24 00; SNT, tel: +47 22 24 66 50.

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