Mothers and children would be
encouraged to eat unsafe levels of toxic tuna and swordfish and never
warned about high levels in mercury in fish under a last-minute effort
to do away with public health advisories for mercury in fish by the
Bush's Food and Drug Administration (FDA). West Coast women and others
who already have unsafe levels of mercury in their blood would no
longer receive any public health warnings about how eating
mercury-laden fish could harm their children and unborn babies. See the
article and documents at Environmental Working Group.
is outrageous and another last minute attempt by the Bush
Administration to enrich its big-business friends, in this case 'Big
Tuna' by ignoring science at the public's expense," said Teri Shore of
the GotMercury.org, a project of Turtle Island Restoration Network of
Forest Knolls, CA. "If we need to go to Court over this, we are
prepared to do so."
new research and bowing to tuna and swordfish industry false claims
that eating mercury in fish is harmless to mothers, pregnant women and
children, the FDA wants to abandon the four-year old public health
advisories that warn against consumption of swordfish, tuna (fresh,
canned and albacore), shark, tilefish and king mackerel.
in the form of methylmercury is a potent neurotoxin that can cause slow
growth and lowered IQ, brain and kidney damage, cancer, and an
increased risk of heart disease, according to numerous studies. As many
as 630,000 or 15 percent of newborns in the U.S. are at risk each year
of neurological defects due to mercury contamination, according to the
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.
large-species tuna and swordfish sold in the U. S. typically exceeds
the FDA's for mercury in commercial fish at 1 part per million mercury
- which is double the amount allowed by the U. S. Environmental
Protection Agency for recreational fish and the governments of Canada,
Japan and the European Union. The FDA has never developed a "safe
level" for mercury blood levels in people.
FDA standard is more than 30 years old and is based on bad science and
industry interference that dates to a 1971 lawsuit between Anderson
Seafoods and the FDA. The standard is based almost entirely on faulty
field research from a mercury poisoning in Iraq that never established
minimal-effect or no-effect levels for mercury exposure. This is
documented in the new book "Diagnosis Mercury" by Dr. Jane Hightower of
publishes a free online mercury calculator for people to estimate
mercury exposure from fish and has worked with the state of California
on legal actions to require public warning signs to be posted at
seafood restaurants and stores. It advocates for seafood testing for
mercury, labeling and the slashing of allowable mercury levels in fish
to .5 ppm or less.
year, the California State Legislature passed Assembly Joint Resolution
57 authored by Jared Huffman that urged the FDA to take stronger action
to warn people about mercury in fish.