Levels of Mercury in
Humans Exceeds EPA Standards - Chart tells what Fish to Avoid
Two environmental groups say that mercury levels in human subjects were
higher than what is deemed safe. The Sierra Club and Greenpeace tested
hair samples from 6,600 people in all 50 states and found that New
Yorkers had the highest contamination of mercury. California, Colorado
and Oregon were not far behind.
According to a Sierra Club press release, one in five women tested
nationwide has mercury levels higher than the EPA safe limit. This is
important for women of childbearing age and their small children.
According to the Sierra Club exposure to mercury in the womb can cause
“neurological damage and other health problems.”
The EPA recommends mercury levels not to exceed one microgram per gram
of hair. The usual way mercury gets into the body is via food. It has
little to do with your home or work location. The groups claim that
coal burning power plants are the biggest single source of the mercury.
These power plants produce 42% of the country’s industrial mercury
The mercury gets into the streams, lakes, rivers and oceans. The
substance gets “concentrated” in fish and shellfish, which are then
consumed by people. According to Dr. Steve Patch, Co-director of EQI
and co-author of the report said “In the samples we analyzed, the
greatest single factor influencing mercury exposure was the frequency of
fish consumption. We saw a direct relationship between people’s mercury
levels and the amount of store-bought fish, canned tuna fish or locally
caught fish people consumed."
Greenpeace claims President Bush has not done enough to clean the
environment. Casey Harrell of Greenpeace said “Greenpeace started the
Mercury Hair Sampling Project in response to President Bush’s failure to
clean up power plant mercury pollution. It was very disappointing to
hear President Bush call for more coal burning power plants in the State
of the Union address when clean energy sources are available."
The groups claim that the EPA has proposed weak power plant mercury
regulations. This may violate the Clean Air Act according to an ongoing
lawsuit filed by 15 State Attorney Generals.
The Sierra Club is offering a hair sample test kit for a fee on their
website: sierraclub.org/mercury. The Environmental Protection
Agency provides a chart of which fish should be avoided and which can be
eaten in moderation. We have published similar charts that are
similar to the one below.
|Do Not Eat
(Less than three 6 oz. servings a month)
(less than six 6 oz. servings a month)
|Low in Mercury
(eat in moderation)
Tilefish (Gulf of Mexico)
Croaker White (Pacific)
Mackerel Spanish (Gulf of Mexico)
Tuna (Canned, Albacore)
Mackerel Spanish (S. Atlantic)
Tuna (Canned, Light)
Weakfish (Sea Trout)
Mackerel Atlantic (N. Atlantic)
Mackerel Chub (Pacific)
Best Syndication Staff Writer
Books on Pregnancy
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