SAN FRANCISCO— On Saturday, August 6, NBC 4-KTTV in Los Angeles won the Medical News Story—Multi Report Emmy Award for its series featuring GotMercury.org and its undercover fish testing, which revealed dangerous mercury concentrations in tuna and swordfish. The award-winning news series featured GotMercury.org’s program for testing fish samples purchased at high-end sushi restaurants as well as fish counters in Los Angeles. Link to the winning news segment here.
“We congratulate the news team at KTTV on this great honor, and are proud to have been part of it,” said Todd Steiner, executive director of GotMercury.org and its parent activist organization, SeaTurtles.org, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. “Being able to support this type of investigative journalism—especially when the subject is human health and threats from a high-order toxin such as mercury—goes to the heart of GotMercury‘s mission; hopefully, this recognition of KTTV’s work will lead to further awareness of the insidious dangers posed by mercury poisoning.”
The KTTV series featured GotMercury.org team members purchasing sushi at popular restaurants in the greater Los Angeles area, and then submitting them for testing to a nationally accredited toxicity-testing lab. Results showed widespread contamination, with levels as high as two times the upper bound of the United States Food and Drug Administration’s action level.
“This is an important message to publicize because it’s such a difficult one to get out,” added Steiner. “Special interest groups such as the restaurant industry and industrial fishing concerns make big money from selling poisoned fish and certainly don’t want the public to know about it.”
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the number-one source of mercury exposure in the United States is contaminated seafood. In addition to health consequences, mercury poisoning has severe economic impacts: studies have determined that children exposed to mercury in the United States through the consumption of contaminated seafood costs the U.S. $5.1 billion a year.