Officials from the federal government and the Western states are reviewing potential selenium-related human health risks brought to light by a seven-month newspaper study, the Sacramento Bee reported this week.
In articles published Sunday and Monday, the newspaper reported evidence of toxic levels of the trace element selenium in the basic food supply of millions of Americans.The Food and Drug Administration told the Bee Wednesday it planned a thorough review of the report, although officials said their own tests to date indicated no health threat.
The Interior Department acknowledged that its own studies overlooked potential risks to people who eat fish and waterfowl that are tainted with selenium. Further studies will be conducted at seven Western sites, officials told the Bee.
State governments also are taking action as a result of the newspaper investigation, including those in Colorado and Montana.
Selenium, an inorganic element in soil, is essential for healthy growth in humans and animals - in very small doses. At higher levels, it is a poison.