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Levels of Mercury in Humans Exceeds EPA Standards - Chart tells what Fish to Avoid

February 9th 2006

Levels of Mercury in Humans Exceeds EPA Standards - Chart tells what Fish to Avoid

Mercury Ore

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 pollution. 

 

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
(Highest Mercury)
Avoid
(Less than three 6 oz. servings a month)
Eat Sparingly
(less than six 6 oz. servings a month)
Low in Mercury
(eat in moderation)
Grouper
Mackerel King
Shark
Swordfish
Tilefish (Gulf of Mexico)
Bass (Saltwater, Sea/Striped/Rockfish)
Bluefish
Croaker White (Pacific)
Halibut
Lobster (Northern/American)
Mackerel Spanish (Gulf of Mexico)
Marlin
Orange Roughy
Scorpionfish
Tuna (Canned, Albacore)
Tuna (Fresh/Frozen)
Buffalofish
Carp
Mackerel Spanish (S. Atlantic)
Monkfish
Perch (freshwater)
Sablefish
Sheepshead
Skate
Snapper
Tilefish (Atlantic)
Tuna (Canned, Light)
Weakfish (Sea Trout)
Anchovies
Butterfish
Catfish
Clams
Cod
Crab (Blue/King/Snow)
Crawfish
Croaker (Atlantic)
Flounder
Haddock
Hake
Herring
Jacksmelt
Lobster (Spiny)
Mackerel Atlantic (N. Atlantic)
Mackerel Chub (Pacific)
Mullet
Oysters
Perch Ocean
Pickerel
Plaice
Pollock
Salmon (Canned)
Salmon (Fresh/Frozen)
Sardine
Scallops
Shad (American)
Shrimp
Sole
Squid
Tilapia
Trout (Freshwater)
Whitefish
Whiting
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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:50 PM