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7 reasons why eating whale meat may constitute health hazards

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A whale was reported to have been swept to the shores of a beach in Okpoama and Onyekia communities in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The incident hit the social media last Sunday.

Photographs and videos posted on social media show people, mostly youths, carving out fleshy parts of the large fish, with reports that the overall intention was to cook it as food.

Experts, however, warn that whales are particularly vulnerable to environmental contaminants and heavy metals, and that their flesh is unhealthy for human consumption.

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Here are seven reasons why eating whale flesh is dangerous to your health, according to experts:

• Environmental contaminants such as pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) tend to accumulate in the bodies of sea mammals such as whales. Eating a fish as contaminated as this means you’re exposing yourself to poison.

• The contaminants in the whale meat and blubber (fat) increase the consumers’ risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, hypertension, and arteriosclerosis.

• Unborn babies who are exposed to methyl mercury in seafood such as whale meat risk developing cognitive deficiencies such as delays in all areas of development, including language and walking; inability to take to toilet training, development of heart defects, abnormal brain development, etc.

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• Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) usually found in whale flesh can cause nerve damage, reproductive and developmental disorders, immune system suppression, liver damage, skin irritation, and endocrine disruption.

• Eating whale meat can expose you to Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, commonly known as DDT, and this can lead to certain cancer risks, or expose you to neurological disorders such as back pain, cluster or tension headaches, seizures, stroke, etc.

• Mothers who eat whale meat while pregnant or breastfeeding expose their unborn and lactating babies to risks of developmental disorders and other health problems.

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