Pharmaceuticals Found in Fish: How to Avoid This Latest Health Hazard

Should you avoid fish because of the new study finding pharmaceuticals in fish? Body Ecology’s guide to choosing the best sources of fish AND how to reduce exposure to toxins will help you feel good about eating fish again!

Before you make that fish for dinner or order trout from your favorite restaurant, it’s important to know about the latest news.

A recent study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that fish caught near five different wastewater treatment facilities nationwide had residues of pharmaceuticals in them.1

Among the medicines found in fish were drugs that treat depression, bipolar disorder, allergies, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

According to study co-author Bryan Brooks, you would have to eat hundreds of thousands of fish dinners to get even a single therapeutic dose. However, aquatic animals that are constantly exposed to contaminated waters can be harmed even by extremely diluted concentrations of pharmaceuticals. 2

How is it that fish are getting exposed to pharmaceuticals?

How Fish Are Exposed to Pharmaceuticals

The water is contaminated with traces of drugs that were not removed in the sewage treatment plants.

Much of the contamination comes from the unmetabolized residues of medicines that people have taken and excreted, but unused medications dumped down the drain also contribute to the problem. The fish present in these streams and rivers then absorb the pharmaceuticals.3

This means that drinking water sourced from treatment plants is also contaminated with trace amounts of pharmaceuticals.

You CAN avoid contaminated fish and water. For more on choosing the best drinking water, read: The Best Water to Drink, and the Types that Should Be Avoided.

Healthy Sources of Fish

These days, the world’s population gets about 25% of its protein from fish.4

At Body Ecology, we’ve always recommended fish as the preferred animal protein in your diet. Fish is easier to digest than other animal proteins and it has important omega-3 fatty acids along with grounding, strengthening properties.

So instead of swearing off fish, it’s important to know how to choose the best fish for your health:

  1. Freshwater fish – freshwater fish comes from rivers and streams. These are the fish most likely to be contaminated by pharmaceuticals. Some examples of freshwater fish are: carp, talapia, whitefish, walleye pike, trout and catfish.
  2. Farmed fish – Farmed fish can have a range of problems. Because they don’t have much room to swim and are prone to disease, antibiotics are used, as well as commercial dyes for a healthy color. Even the feed they are given may have toxins that are passed on to the consumer. 5
  3. Warm water fish – Warm-water fish (such as Orange Roughy) are more likely to be sprayed with preservatives than cold-water fish. Polyphosphates, sulfites, sodium benzoate and polytrisorbate control mold, yeast and bacteria, but we do not know the long-term effects of consuming them. So best to avoid preservatives all together!
  4. Wild-caught coldwater fish – At Body Ecology, we highly recommend that you choose wild-caught coldwater fish.

Here are six examples of wild-caught, eco-friendly fish found in cold water:6

  • Anchovies
  • Wild Alaskan salmon
  • Pacific sardines
  • Pacific longline cod
  • Pacific halibut
  • U.S Atlantic yellowfin tuna (ahi tuna)

With any food supplier, it’s crucial to know and trust the origin and conditions of your fish. We always look for a high quality provider, like Vital Choice, which offers wild Alaskan salmon Vital Choice is chock full of omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D, and is as healthy, safe and delicious as salmon gets.

We’ve all heard about dangerous mercury in our fish). The coldwater fish listed above are generally considered safe.

Reducing Exposure to Toxins and Protecting Your Health

Toxins in food, water and other products  are more prevalent than ever. This report on pharmaceutical residues in fish reminds us that detoxification and cleansing is increasingly important.

Here are three important steps you can take to protect yourself from toxins, so you can worry less and feel your best:

  1. Drink 8 – 10 glasses of water each day. Hydration is paramount to your vitality. But this report emphasizes that not all water is created equal! Staying hydrated is absolutely necessary for good health, considering water makes up nearly 75% of your body.

    When you can’t get water that is clean and full of naturally occurring minerals (from wells, aquifers or springs, for example), consider buying a filter for your tap water and adding a mineral supplement, like Body Ecology’s Ocean Plant Extract, a concentrated supplement that gives you the minerals you need to thrive.

    The secret ingredient in Ocean Plant Extract, Laminaria Japonica, helps cleanse your body of toxins and heavy metals, like mercury.

  2. Introducing the Body Ecology Detoxification Training Program! By popular demand, Body Ecology founder, Donna Gates is teaching what you need to know about toxins and detoxification so you can look and feel your best. You’ll learn little-known detoxification secrets from Donna Gates and her team of medical and natural health experts in this premier program, which begins May 13th, 2009. This program is offered in many ways, including a FREE attendance option! Find out more and register today.

    Consume fermented foods and drinks. Fermented foods and drinks are key for some of the most important functions in your body, like digestion, immunity and energy. Fermented foods and drinks, like cultured vegetables and probiotic liquids, help you look and feel your best and they also help cleanse your body of pathogens and toxins.

  3. Detoxify. Since you can’t completely prevent the ingestion of toxins (they’re in everything from non-stick cookware to sunscreen lotion!) it’s also important to know how to detoxify your body . Once you learn how to detoxify and reduce your exposure to toxins, it’ll be easier to be worry-free about creating good health.

    And now you can with Body Ecology’s Detoxification Training, brought to you by Donna Gates and her team of top medical and natural health experts!

Learn detoxification secrets from the convenience of your home with this special and affordable training program that teaches you what you need to know to look and feel your best!

To learn more and find out how to register, read: Finally, Detoxification Secrets for Looking and Feeling Your Best Revealed!

While it may seem frustrating that everywhere you turn, there’s a new study about toxins in your food, water, clothing and personal care products, there is good news: the choices you make can make all the difference in your health.

There are more and more people committed to making products that truly add to the health of our world. And when you have tools, like fermented foods and drinks, mineral supplements and water filters, you can go even further in reducing your exposure to toxins.

Remember, taking everything step-by-step is most important of all when it comes to good health. Stress in any form, including about your health, is another source of toxins – so take your time and enjoy the journey of feeling your healthy best!


  1. Pilot Study of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in Fish Tissue. Environmental Protection Agency. March 2009.


  2. ibid.
  3. Food and Culture Encyclopedia. Freshwater Fish.
  4. Wild vs. Farm or Ocean Raised Fish, Delicious Organics. http://www.deliciousorganics.com/Controversies/wildvsfarmfish.htm
  5. Environmental Defense Fund’s Eco-Best Fish: http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=15890
  6. ibid.
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