A recent study finds that the benefits of eating fish could outweigh the harmful effects of slightly elevated levels of mercury in the body. The GLRC’s Christina Shockley reports:
A recent study finds that the benefits of eating fish could outweigh the
harmful effects of slightly elevated levels of mercury in the body. The
GLRC’s Christina Shockley reports:
Mercury from air pollution falls into the water and accumulates in fish.
The toxin can cause health problems and birth defects.
John Dellinger is from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. He
spent 12-years looking at Native Americans, who tend to eat 10 times
more fish than the average American. He says participants had higher
than average levels of mercury in their bodies, but reported few cases of
illness or infection. Dellinger says one reason could be they types of fish
“They’re eating primarily a wide variety of fish, and predominantly a
moderate size fish. This is different than the sport fishing person who
goes out on the Great Lakes and is going for the really big fish.”
Dellinger says big fish tend to contain more mercury. He says it’s not
known exactly how much mercury is harmful, but the federal
government says women of child-bearing age, and children, should eat
only two servings per week of fish that are low in mercury.
Hair is now a way to test people for mercury levels, as opposed to more invasive tests of blood and urine. (Photo by Anna Miller)
Health officials are experimenting with another way to gauge the level of mercury in people who eat a lot of fish. The only test sample needed is… hair. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach
Health officials are experimenting with another way to gauge the level of mercury in people who eat a lot of fish. The only test sample needed is… hair. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach reports:
Doctors can already test your blood and urine for mercury. Now, as a less invasive technique, some health officials can test the hair near your scalp for the toxic chemical. There’s some debate over the quality of the tests, the lab analyses, and over what a high test reading means. The federal health warning for mercury in hair is one part per million. But that’s for susceptible populations like an unborn fetus.
Jack Spengler is a professor of environmental health at Harvard University. he recently ate a lot of fish and says his hair tested out at 3 parts per million of mercury.
“But I’m not going apoplectic about it because I know if I just watch my consumption, I can moderate that over time… and there’s that safety margin…that I suspect I’d have to be much higher for much longer to really have symptoms. ”
Prolonged high levels of the most toxic form of mercury, methyl mercury can trigger various health problems in adults such as memory loss and cardiovascular damage.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Chuck Quirmbach.
The re-election of George W. Bush has many environmental groups worried. (Photo by Judi Seiber)
Environmental groups worry that the Bush administration will further dismantle environmental protection laws during its next term. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports:
Environmental groups worry that the Bush administration will further dismantled environmental protection laws during its next term. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports:
The big environmental groups have been very critical of George W. Bush’s first term in office. Despite speculation that the President will take more moderate positions in this next term, environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council are skeptical. Greg Wetstone is the NRDC’s Director of Advocacy.
“We have to prepare for the worst and we’re hoping for something better. We would like to see this president use the election as an opportunity to embrace more broadly the support for environmental protection held across the public. But, we can’t be naïve.”
In a letter to NRDC’s members, the group’s president took it a step farther, writing that -quote- the White House attacks of the past four years are but the leading edge of a much broader assault that will come in a second term. Other environmental groups are expressing similar skepticism.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Lester Graham.