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Mercury Contamination of Aquatic Ecosystems & [Perhaps] Your Body


Well, this doesn’t make me feel very safe. According to the EPA mercury calculator, one can of tuna a week is too much for me.

It’s the biomagnification that should worry you…   WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE!

[Source: United States Geological Survey]

The Environmental Defense Fund and I recommend that you download and print the Pocket Seafood Selector and the Pocket Sushi Guide, which list the types of seafood considered to be both safe for eating and eco-friendly. Afraid you’ll find your favorite under the xDANGERx column? Fear not – the site will even recommend good alternatives!

Once upon a time, people used mercury and its compounds to treat syphilis. Although not successful, it enjoyed a vogue for a considerable time until penicillin was found to be an effective cure for this disease in its earlier stages. One important use of mercury compounds was in hatmaking; 200 years ago, the furs used to make beaver felt hats was dipped into mercury(II) nitrate solution as a preservative and to soften the animal hairs. Unfortunately the workers in the felt hat trade absorbed mercury through their skins; the resulting mercury poisoning caused shaking and slurred speech, being known as “hatter’s disease”, which is believed to have inspired the character of the Mad Hatter in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, a character made famous in Tenniel’s drawing (below). [Source: Uppingham School]

Note: The image above depicts a child born with Minamata disease, a result of mercury toxicity.

The idea is not that you should never eat seafood again, but to become aware of the types that are safe and those that should be avoided.

For more information about the mercury issue and to calculate the amount of mercury in your body, visit GotMercury?

For more information about fish, fishing and aquaculture practices, and ocean issues, visit the Seafood Watch site of the Monterrey Bay Aquarium.

>UPDATE<   I do not endorse chelation as a therapy for autism, nor do I believe that vaccines or mercury toxicity cause autism.

September 7, 2009 2:11 am

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