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Your report that a six-year Harvard University study of nearly 45,000 health professionals found no relation between fish consumption and reduced risk of heart disease points out the folly of seeking improved health by changing from one kind of meat to another.

Public concern with health hazards of red meat during the past decade has raised U.S. per-capita fish consumption by 25 percent to more than 15 pounds per year. But fish and other "seafood" animals spend their entire life filtering industrial waste, agricultural runoff and urban sewage. Though lower in fat and cholesterol, their flesh contains ample supplies of heavy metals and pesticides, responsible for several forms of cancer and birth defects, as well as agents of infectious diseases.Remedies are few. Thorough cooking destroys most pathogens but does nothing to the toxic substances. Federal agencies monitor incidence of seafood-borne diseases but do little to protect consumers from contaminated seafood.

The only effective long-term remedy to high risk of chronic and infectious diseases is the diet recommended by a succession of U.S. health authorities: whole grains, vegetables and fresh fruits.

Chris Oliver