A groundbreaking amendment to the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act (H.R. 5504) will greatly reduce the risk of women and children being exposed to toxic mercury through mercury-laden fish. H.R. 5504 passed out the House Education and Labor Committee on July 15, 2010.
Sponsored by Congressman Kucinich (D-OH), the amendment requires the Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, to issue scientific guidance that will be provided to administrators of the child nutrition programs and the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC). This information will help schools and WIC programs avoid fish that is high in mercury in favor of healthier fish.
“We applaud Congressman Kucinich and the House Education and Labor Committee for taking this bold step in improving the health of women and children by preventing unnecessary exposure to the harmful effects of mercury in seafood,” said Buffy Martin Tarbox of GotMercury.org which publishes a free on-line mercury-in-fish calculator for people to gauge their potential mercury exposure from eating fish.
This landmark provision improves the health and nutrition of children and mothers by ensuring scientific evidence about the dangers of mercury in seafood are provided to the agencies responsible for feeding the most vulnerable populations.
“We call on the House and the Senate to make the health of our nation’s children and mothers a top priority and pass this amendment into law,” said Martin Tarbox.
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency has found that 15 percent of babies born in the United States each year have dangerous levels of mercury in their bodies due to their mother’s consumption of fish. But the government does not alert the public to the mercury issue, except on its website, leaving mothers to fend for information themselves. Seafood sellers are not required to warn fish buyers about mercury.
Mercury contamination of seafood is a widespread public health problem, especially for women of childbearing age, pregnant and nursing women and children. Studies have shown that mercury ingestion can lead to memory loss, developmental and learning disorders, vision loss, heart disease and, in extreme cases, can result in death.
About GotMercury: The Gotmercury campaign works to protect people and the environment from mercury. Because of the ubiquitous nature of mercury in the environment and because federal and state public health agencies are not doing enough to raise public awareness and protect the public from mercury, GotMercury developed the free online mercury-in-fish calculators that have received millions of hits since 2002. For more information visit www.gotmercury.org or www.gotmercury.mobi
All Rights Reserved for calculator and contents of GotMercury.Org.