Skip to comments.Mercury and Tuna: U.S. Advice Leaves Lots of Questions
Posted on 08/01/2005 6:15:46 AM PDT by topher
[10 year old boy who eats 3 to 6 ounces of tuna a day has neurological and brain effects. Blood tests show that his mercury level was 12 times what the EPA considered safe for a 60 pound boy. Article states that solid white albacore tuna has more mercury than chunk light tuna... U.S. source of Mercury in water is coal fired power plants... Vanity introduction since this is an excerpt]
Ms. Davis noticed something else: Her son's fingers were starting to curl, as if he were gripping a melon. And he could no longer catch a football.
A neurologist ordered tests. They showed Mathhew's blood level was laced with mercury in the amounts nearly double what the Environment Protoection Agency says is the safe level of exposure to the metal. Matthew had mercury poisoning, his doctors said.
The Davises had pinpointed the suspected source: tuna fish. For a year or so, starting late 2002, Matthew had gobbled three to six ounces a day of white albacore tuna. ... based on FDA data for canned albacore, he was consuming a daily does mercury at least 12 times what the EPA considered a safe level for a 60-pound child. ...
[Vanity: the article states that one microgram a day for each 22 pounds of body weight. It appears that the tuna industry may have squashed news about this even under the Clinton Administration. Apparently, there is some controversy on the Federal level about what safe levels are, and how much tuna should be consumed.
A joint Federal Safety Advisory board allows much more tuna to be consumed than is safe.]
(Excerpt) Read more at wsj.com ...
The article states that women who are pregnant will have the mercury concentrate more in the unborn baby's body than in the mother's.
I am not sure why coal fired power plants are the cause in the United States -- seems like scrubbers in the chimney should help remove this, but maybe mercury is too light an element to be easily scrubbed.
ping - might be good to pass along. Too much tuna is actually bad for you...
I am concerned about women who diet excessively and use foods like tuna-fish to help keep their weight down...
The mercury in Great Lakes salmon and trout can be traced directly to Chinese coal. Coals from every part of the world have a locale signature in their ash and thus can be traced to their source.
Ping the B.S. filters on maximum bandwidth! How many kids eat tuna fish that much? My guess is very few who like it. This smells fishy to me.
I am not sure that the other 60% is from, but I know some major cities dump raw sewage about 1 mile offshore in deep water (Los Angeles was the one I had heard this about). I am not sure if this is still being done.
Darn, and the solid white albacore is all I like. Doesn't have that nasty fishy taste the other does. Well, good thing I don't eat it too often.
In the article, the boy did this rather than eating junk food. Sounds like junk food would have been healthier.
Maybe the key point of the article is that anything should be taken in moderation -- too much of anything can be bad.
I have known women who want to stay thin that eat a can of tuna a day -- especially when trying to bulk up (distance runners, etc).
I'd kill Flipper for a tuna fish sandwich.
"Mercury and Tuna"
Apparently, they've named the new planet beyond Pluto.
I knew a man who ate tuna fish 3 times a day, as well as a sort of porridge. It was some diet regimen he had developed himself. And - every year I saw him - the mental deterioration was noticable.
Of course it might have been from some dietary deficiency rather than mercury poisoning, so I'm still agnostic about Hb's role. But singularity diets are - in general - always dangerous IMO.
I've been aware of the tuna/mercury connection for some time.
Mercury first came to my attention, when I worked in a dental office years ago. When they started making us wear badges to monitor mercury levels in the office, I knew that mercury in the dental office must pose more of a threat that anyone was really stating.
Then the advisement for pregnant women against eating fish, and the mercury connection to certain species.
Now you'll have a hard time finding a dentist who is willing to place an amalgam filling (not sure because of the risk to the dentist's and staff's health from mercury vapor, or risk to the patient.)
But my point is, we went for many years unaware of mercury risks, which makes one wonder if the risk has gotten greater, or if they are just becoming more aware of it now.
Once a week should be fine.
Swordfish has the highest concentration of Mercury [using maximum concentration found, not average].
Swordfish had 0.97 parts per million versus Salmon which had 0.01 parts per million. Albacore tuna had 0.35 parts per million, and chunk light tuna had 0.12 parts per million. Catfish and Shrimp were only a little higher than Salmon -- coming in at 0.05 parts per million.
It is more the case of bigger fish eating smaller fish that helps to concentrate the mercury.
And I guess it is environmentally unsafe to mine low mercury coal here in the US. Maybe that is the Environmental Wacko connection here -- we could probably produce safer coal here if we geared up the coal industry instead of importing coal since it cannot be mined here in this country anymore.
Mercury in tuna and other fish has been written about for decades.
From the table:
Chuck light tuna -- 0.12 parts per million
Albacore tuna -- 0.35 parts per million
Shrimp -- 0.05 parts per million
Cod -- 0.11 parts per million
Swordfish -- 0.97 parts per million
Salmon -- 0.01 parts per million
Catfish -- 0.05 parts per million
American Lobster -- 0.31 parts per million.
Source of this is Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management; Food and Drug Administration
[They apparently list two sources for this table on Page A5]
See what happens when you take out the sea turtles and dolphins!
This kid had trouble because (1) low body weight (60 lbs), and (2) he ate a lot of tuna each day.
It was the tradition for many centuries for Christians to eat fish once a week.
Your liver and other organs can probably flush out this amount of mercury in your body -- if it is once a week.
There were huge nuclear blasts by Russia and other nations in the 1940's, 1950's, and 1960's. It was only in the 1970's and 1980's that they started to underground nuclear testing.
People have been exposed to a lot worse -- lead was in gasoline for a number of years before they pulled that.
Maybe Chinese coal should be banned...
The US mines something like 100 million tons of coal/year.
Not because it is too light, but because it is being sent "up the flue" as metallic mercury vapor, which is not highly reactive with current scrubbing chemistries. Maybe if they added sodium hydrogen sulfide to the scrubbing spray, but that would probably cost a fortune.
"Option 2" [...becoming more aware of it...] is correct.
As to Chinese coal, we spent a couple months in China, mainly in Guangzhou (husband was there on a work assignment.)
The pollution in the city was just awful, and we were told it was from coal burning. If that's where the mercury is coming from, we got a nice dose while there, LOL.
I have MS, and for years folks have been trying to make a connection between MS and mercury, but I've never seen any conclusive study that proves mercury "causes" MS. No more than studies that can link Hep B vaccine to increase in incidence of MS.
But I'm still intrigued by the autism link to vaccinations (which was mercury linked, and they did, for the most part, remove the mercury source from the vaccines), or possibly the linking of the increase of autism to the period where they started giving infants the Hep B vaccine.
I really don't think you can put a hard "blame" on all illnesses to certain substances (even folks who have never smoked get lung cancer), but I do believe that certain substances might "trigger" a condition in a person who was predisposed to it.
Basically, just put a couple of "L"s into the smoke stack. Then the real cost is building such a smoke stack, and draining the water into a waste water tank.
Such a system would have up front capital costs, but the only additional cost in operation would be processing the waste water.
I do think it is a worthwhile use of tax dollars to try to make industry competitive but the environment clean. Tax credits for cleaning contaminates would relive energy sticker shocks.
There is a new control system being developed by a guy in Minnesota. I think its called Enviroscrub and uses another heavy metal to trap mercury, sulfur and other bad actors.
But one's computer has all sorts of nasty things in it -- especially the newer ones. Microchips now rely, in some case, arsenic, as well as other toxic chemicals.
I worked in a wafer fab (Texas Instruments), and pregnant women were advised not to work there.
What about our cats?
My Mom feeds her cats tuna
every day I think . . .
Thanks for the info. I don't like fish all that much, but shrimp! Good thing I can't afford it often! Whoda thought being poor would be a blessing? :)
What about Pacific Wahoo?
What about Pacific Wahoo?
Don't know what they're called exactly, and haven't worked in a dental office in a few years, but they were similar to the badges that check for x-ray exposure, but they were mercury sensors that I assumed checked mercury vapor in the air.
Did a quick google check and this page mentions 3M lapel badges to monitor different hazardous fumes, mercury vapors being one of them.
They're a near-top predator that eats fish so I'd guess Wahoo would be somewhere in the vicinity of Albacore Tuna and Yellowfin (Chunk Light) tuna.
I'd like to try Wahoo, hear it's great, but I only eat what I catch and Wahoo are few and far between and mostly caught accidently off the Mid-Atlantic. I've never actually seen one.
Years ago a 1000 year old shark was found frozen in ice somewhere.
The 1000 year old shark had mercury levels around current levels, sugessting that sharks (fish) accumulate mercury from naturally occurring sources.
If you have a bonefish grille near you they serve it. It's like turkey that tastes like fish.
I rate Wahoo as good as Mai-Mai (Dolphinfish). Light translucent pinkish flesh that turns snow white when cooked.
As they are a top line preditor, they will consume smaller fish and concentrate the mecury HOWEVER, like Mai-Mai they are faster growing and not as long lived and don't have the time span to collect as much mercury.
Wahoo are a BLAST to catch! Fast (about 10-12 knots) trolled lures and drift fishing live bait are normal methods. In the Gulf of Mexico they are normally in 200 plus feet of water. They hit baits at speeds up to 55 miles an hour and can pull 300 to 400 yards of line off a reel in seconds. A hard fighting fish many times the third "run" will be longer and tougher to stop than the first.
I had all the mercury fillings in my teeth replaced a little at a time. My mouth was full. Wondering if that added to my poor health. We just didn't know about these things years ago when my teeth were getting filled.
Dr. Whitaker, a physician who is into alternative medicines and supplements, claims he has a site where you can buy tuna that doesn't have mercury in it. Probably $50 a can! (LOL) Maryxxx
Ahem; DM&E RR is engaged in building a new line to supplement the curreent DM&E and BN&SF rail lines out of Wyoming's Powder River Basin, strictly to accomodate coal trains.
Basin Energy, a generating coop that sells power to other upper Midwestern electrical coops has mines near (like next to) some of their power plants in ND. Near those mines are more mines owned by regular coal mining companies, which supply coal to Midwestern and Northeastern power plants.
That is just part of the current & expanding WY, ND, & SD coal mining industry. There's plenty more coal mining elsewhere in the west.
I know in the past Environmentalists and O.S.H.A. has caused the mining industry alot of headaches.
President FDR outlawed gold mining in the US because of the "emergency of World War II". My understanding that this shut down most gold mines in the US never to re-open.
West Virginia and Pennsylvania used to coal mining areas, but I don't know the current status.
I was unaware of the efforts out West!
I did some google searches, and it appears volcanic activity is a concern for some -- for putting Mercury into the atmosphere. I don't know how much of a factor it is...
It appears that volcanic eruptions can sprew quite a bit of Mercury into the atmosphere. I imagine Mount St. Helen's recently, and Krakatoa (1800's) could have put more Mercury in the atmosphere than all the coal fired power plants in the 20th Century and 21st Century (not counting smelters). Plus there are a number of active volcanoes such as Hawaii and other places that may be naturally adding to the Mercury in the atmosphere.
Have you ever tried canned Salmon? It appears this is clearly significantly lower than tunafish from the chart...
I have canned wahoo, if yer interested....
One of my friends, a poor grad student, was eating canned tuna because she had no money. She ended up with some memory loss and nerve damage in her fingers.
With a stack of Chicken of the Sea from Sam's Club in my own closet, I was naturally concerned when she told me of her recent diagnosis of mercury poisoning, but she told me she had bought the cheap, no name tuna, so I feel a little better.