STATS at George Mason University


Breaking news sample

Our sample of newspaper articles and broadcast transcripts were drawn from Lexis Nexis, and run from Jan 8 through 9, when the Science study received most of its media exposure.  Not every national news organization chose to cover the study as news, notably, NBC and the Wall Street Journal. We did not have access to transcripts of Canadian or British broadcast news coverage.

United States print: The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Atlanta Journal Constitution, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Seattle Times, Oregonian, Newsday, Detroit Free Press, San Jose Mercury News, New York Post, Orlando Sentinel, St Paul Pioneer Press.

United States broadcast:  ABC’s “World News Tonight”, CBS’ “Evening News,” CNN’s “Wolf Blitzer Reports” and NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

Canada print: The Vancouver Sun, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, National Post, Edmonton Sun.

United Kingdom print: The Times (London), Financial Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Express, Mirror, Birmingham Evening Mail, Scotsman, Herald (Glasgow).

Regulatory limits
(news stories providing numbers in parts per million or parts per billion)
EPA, FDA, Both, Why Different?
US print 47% 29% 24% 18%
US broadcast 25% 0% 0% 0%

Given that Hites et al. used the EPA consumption limits for the basis of their risk assessment, we also looked for U.S. regulatory limits in Canadian and UK news coverage, as well as other international and local limits, specifically Canada Health (CH), World Health Organization (WHO), European Union (EU) and Food Standards Authority (FSA).

EPA, FDA, CH, Why Different?
Canada Print 0% 40% 40% 20%

EPA, FDA, WHO, FSA, EU, Why Different?
U.K. Print 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%

Levels of PCBs found in salmon
(news stories providing numbers in parts per million or parts per billion)
U.S. print 65% (Atlanta Journal Constitution listed dioxin levels but not PCBs)
U.S. broadcast 0%
Canada print 40% (Vancouver Sun listed dioxin levels but not PCBs)
U.K. print 10%

Increased risk of cancer
(news stories that provided the EPA’s estimate of one additional case of cancer in 100,000 over 70 years based on the PCB levels found in Hites et al.)
U.S. print 18%
U.S. broadcast 50%
Canada print 20%
U.K. print 30%

Lower risk of non-cancer health effects
(news stories which noted the difference between the EPA’s risk estimation for cancer and non-cancer health risks)
U.S. print 0%
U.S. broadcast 0%
Canada print 0%
U.K. print 0%

Risk context
(news stories which covered the benefits of eating salmon, levels of PCBs in other foods, other health risks, etc)
U.S. print 94%
U.S. broadcast 100%
Canada print 80%
U.K. print 90%

Controversy over cancer-PCB link
(news stories which explained the controversy over claims that PCBs cause cancer)
U.S. print 29%
U.S. broadcast 25%
Canada print 0%
U.K. print 10%

Balanced Concerned Alarmist
U.S. print    18%    18%   65%
Canada print 0%   20%   80%
U.K. print 0%    0%    100% (figures rounded up)

U.S. print
 “Report cites health risks of farm-raised salmon; levels of contaminants are higher than in wild fish. Industry officials dispute conclusions” — Los Angeles Times
“Farm-raised salmon called risky choice; a study found more contaminants than in wild salmon. The industry and federal officials objected” — Philadelphia Inquirer
“Study warns of danger in eating farmed salmon. Critics blast report, saying it ignores health benefit” — Seattle Post Intelligencer

“Study raises concerns about farmed salmon” — Atlanta Journal Constitution “Farmed salmon leave more contaminants than wild ones, study finds” — New York Times “Farmed salmon more tainted than wild” — Oregonian

“Study cites toxins in farmed salmon” — Chicago Tribune
“Study says farm salmon dangerous” — Detroit Free Press
“Salmon-slammin study says farmed fish are foul” — New York Post
“Farmed salmon fears. Study links popular fish to carcinogens” — Newsday
“Eat fewer farm-raised salmon, study says” — Orlando Sentinel
“Limit on eating salmon is urged” — St Paul Pioneer Press
“Toxic risks in farmed salmon – consumers told to be wary. Study finds PCBs, dioxins, pesticides, probably from diet” — San Francisco Chronicle
“Study finds risk in farm fish; intake should be limited to once every two months, researchers say” — San Jose Mercury News
“How safe is your salmon? Study sees higher level of toxins in farmed fish” — Seattle Times “Some salmon are highly toxic” — USA Today
“Toxins cited in farmed salmon. Cancer risk is lower in wild fish, study reports”  — Washington Post

Canada print
“Contamination risk slightly higher from farm-raised salmon” — Edmonton Sun
 “Farmed salmon have higher PCB counts: study: consumption is a threat to pregnant women, children, researchers say” — Vancouver Sun
“Farmed salmon toxin alert” — Toronto Star
“Farmed salmon a health hazard: report” — Ottawa Citizen
“Wild salmon safer than farmed, study suggests: toxic chemicals” — National Post

U.K print
“Toxin alert on salmon; more than three meals a year ‘unsafe’” — Birmingham Evening Mail “Only eat salmon three times a year” — Daily Mail
“Farmed salmon in cancer alert” — Daily Telegraph
“Only eat it 3 times a year; salmon health risk” — Express
“Scientists warn of farmed salmon contamination” — Financial Times
" Cancer warning over Scottish farmed salmon” — Guardian
“New warning over poisons in farmed salmon; eat fish only three times a year, warns study” — Herald (Glasgow)
"Don’t eat salmon more than once every month” — Mirror
“Consumption of farmed salmon linked to cancer” — Scotsman
“Farmed salmon linked to cancer risk” — Times (London)


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