Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Warning About Mercury In Multi-year Predator Fish


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Once again, the news that eating predator fish a lot is dangerous, makes the news. The latest story ties itself to the issue of sushi, a delicacy I happen to love. This gives the impression that sushi is bad to eat even though the mercury danger is for only tuna or similar sushi.

From Reuters:
Sushi is more popular than ever before but eating it "has become the new Russian roulette" in terms of safety, a group campaigning against mercury in fish said on Monday.

Eli Saddler of gotmercury.org, a campaign of California-based Sea Turtle Restoration Project, went to six top sushi restaurants in Los Angeles to test mercury levels in the fish they serve.

"The level of mercury in tuna these restaurants serve is so high they should be keeping this food off their lists," Saddler said. "Eating sushi has become the new Russian roulette."
Tuna steaks are other menu items. Shark meat is eaten in many forms. Why sushi in particular is being attacked is most irritating since most sushi isn't made with these particular ingredients and one can enjoy sushi without worry if it isn't these few types of fish.

I notice today's food news is being spread all over the place. I have known now for about 30 years not to eat tuna, for example, while pregnant or nursing. So this shouldn't be a big surprise. The fact that stores and eateries won't warn people about this is due to the fact that our government doesn't want to interfer with business.

The hunting of tuna will have to stop, pretty soon, due to simple overfishing. This is why I seldom eat the fish today, mercury or no. Even more so with sharks who are rapidly going extinct due to overfishing.

Here is a PBS story about mercury in fish:
In America one-in-six children born every year have been exposed to mercury levels so high that they are potentially at risk for learning disabilities and motor skill impairment and short-term memory loss. That type of mercury exposure is caused by eating certain kinds of fish, which contain high levels of the toxin from both natural and man-made sources such as emissions from coal-fired power plants One government analysis shows that 630,000 children each year are exposed to potentially unsafe mercury levels in the womb. If the government and its scientists know about the mercury problem, why do so many people continue to be poisoned?
This PBS show is a good source of information.

They report that California passed a law forcing businesses to post warnings about tuna in particular. Only this was dragged into court this year. Like the cigarette folk, these people want business. It is all very odd, this. For example, the eating of eggs dropped drastically due to health fears yet the real problem is sick chickens due to factory farms that abuse the poor birds. I have hens and they are happy birds, free to roam about, eating all sorts of interesting things, grooming each other, dust baths, perches, etc. They lay lovely eggs that are brilliantly golden, high yokes, firm whites, very healthy. But people in general are now spooked about eggs even though they happily ingest industrial waste products made with the most noxious chemical ingredients imaginable!

Even when seeking "health foods" the public blandly buys ready made junk food. "Lo Carbs!" announce cookie boxes, for example. Yech!

The PBS article correctly fingerpoints to the many coal burning plants producing electricity as chief agents of pollution. The smokestacks are very tall to disperse the poisons as far as possible which means the wind picks it up, combines it with rain and then it all falls into the rivers and seas! Great.

And we are building more of these things!

Here is an older article about the same warnings. From the CBC:
Last Updated Wed, 29 May 2002 12:17:22
OTTAWA - Health Canada has sent out a warning to consumers to limit their intake of certain types of fish because of high mercury levels in them.

The department had previously warned consumers last year about eating shark, swordfish and fresh and frozen tuna. A news release from the department says it just wants to reiterate that advice.
A huge industry in Canada is fishing and for their government to do this takes a lot of guts.

A lot of our increasing problems ultimately can be traced back to our desire to live in an anti-ecological bubble. Scientists know that predators don't eat predators. They go lower down in the food chain. Perhaps, this is one more reason why. And is probably why polar bears that eat seals who are high on the food chain are having increasing problems with their health, they are getting the double whammy here from our energy use. Global warming and pollution.

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