Are Persistent Organic Pollutants in animal fat a risk?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 11, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Persistent Organic Pollutants are a group of unplesant fat soluble chemical pollutants that are widespread worldwide now in the environment. They include such chemicals as: Dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls and brominated flame-retardants.

These chemicals have been associated with amoung other things: insulin resistance, diabetes and thyroid health.

Once in the environment they accumulate in fats becoming concentrated though animals in the food chain. It is estmated that 90% of human exposure is though food with the majority of this from fish, animal fat and dairy fat.

Is this a risk for the long-term consumption of high levels of animal fat?

Medium avatar


on July 21, 2011
at 05:37 AM

Very eloquently put...BTW I think my Fracking question was deleted!



on September 11, 2010
at 07:39 PM

Yes! I'm very excited to see the verdict on this. Don't worry if papers do not include long term health outcomes--the current quality of evidence shouldn't influence prudent awareness.



on September 11, 2010
at 06:36 PM

Great question -- hopefully we'll get some thoughtful answers.



on September 11, 2010
at 02:44 PM

glad to see someone finally tackling the toxins-in-fat issue.



on September 11, 2010
at 02:16 PM

Ugh, good question. Is this something that antioxidants etc help filter?

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4 Answers



on September 11, 2010
at 06:40 PM

Chris Masterjohn address dioxins a while ago. http://www.westonaprice.org/environmental-toxins/239-dioxins-in-animal-foods.html

I'm not sure about the other ones, could be a problem, could not be. The dose makes the poison, don't forget.

It is like this: dairy causes insulin resistance in experimental trials http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15578035 so, uh, if dairy has toxins in it how do we know it is the toxins and not dairy just being a bad food> Same goes for pork and chicken fat. I know they're meat but those aren't good fats, I prefer beef and lamb fats which are low in omega 6, preferably grassfed so you get all of the extra CLA goodness http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8688104.stm

But then conversely, I seriously doubt that seafood intake is associated with any disease of any kind, as the omega 3 fatty acids provide powerful protection from most. The rat study was interesting and provides some evidence, although a rat is not necessarily a human and some fish like salmon and sardines have only very small concentrations, so if I was to make a call I would say nothing but low-pollutant fish until conclusive experimental evidence is available, that's what I do.

And so I'm looking for specific experimental trials where they basically gave people as much poison as would be found in food and then did testing. I can't find studies like that, although I'm looking.

With regards to bromide, yeah it does cause hypothyroidism, no doubt. Although it is likely like goitrogens which are counteracted by a higher intake of iodine http://www.healthsalon.org/274/iodine-dr-guy-e-abraham-md/

Medium avatar


on April 05, 2011
at 04:49 AM

I just watched "Gasland", which I thought was an outstanding documentary (found out about it through its Oscar nomination), if overwhelming and depressing. So, the film is about the HUGE push to extract natural gas here in the U.S. (happening in Canada too) and the insane environmental effects this is having. The method used is called hydrolic fraturing or "fracking" and they use over 500 chemicals, many known carcinogens, in this method. These chemicals are getting straight into the groundwater and the other processes in the production of this natural gas are also causing crazy air pollution. Apparently Yellowstone now has some serious smog issues.

Anyways, I highly recommend everyone see this film, but the one thing that really got my husband and I when we were watching it was the cattle. See, this is happening all over the nation, but particularly heavily in it's agricultural heartland. Also in the Rockies, Texas, and many other places that you might be getting your beef (or various other meats). So, at one point in the film, they're at a cattle ranch, and they've just been talking about how people are dying and getting sick from this water. Well, it's clear that these pastured grass eating cattle are breathing in heavily heavily toxic air from sites visible from their pastures and of course , like all animals, they are drinking the water. In this case, deadly toxic heavily polluted water (that a few people were able to set on fire straight from their home taps, yes, water on fire.). The farmer makes it very clear these cattle are meat cattle which will be sold, not eaten for his personal consumption.

Incidentally a law is being put forward to finally make fracking subject to environmental laws which it has been exempt from (!!!) until now. We will see if the law passes.

This made me really depressed because I often pay a premium for grass fed pastured animals and assume what I am buying is a healthier animal. The huge, huge scope of fracking made me reconsider this and reconsider how healthy that animal fat is if toxins are stored there. Thoughts?

Medium avatar


on July 21, 2011
at 05:37 AM

Very eloquently put...BTW I think my Fracking question was deleted!



on May 14, 2011
at 05:00 PM

this is not an answer, but yet another question. if animals store toxins in their fat, it seems reasonalble that we humans also do the same. so what might be the effects of all these toxins being released as we burn away the fat?
i am currently losing "the last 10 lbs" that have been with me through all my years of drug/alcohol abuse and poor eating. am i being poisoned from within?

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