Recent research shows that those who supply toxic sources of energy contribute enormously to mercury contamination of marine life and along with those entrusted to protect the public interests have dropped the ball that’s created a health risk for sea food lovers like me.
It’s not often that I come across an issue that touches on several critical areas all at the same time. And I owe it all to my love for tuna, tilapia, shrimp, catfish, oysters, cod, salmon and just about any other marine species that occupy our global waters. I love seafood but for most of my married life I have indulged myself very little because my wife was sure she was allergic to most fish products. So I bit the bullet and made the sacrifice for domestic tranquility purposes. Only when we went out to eat where fish was on the menu would I feast on those aquatic delights.
Well, fate and time have been good to me as my wife has gingerly discovered that she doesn’t have a reaction to fish like she thought she did and has been willing to allow it in our diet more frequently. In fact we went out to our favorite restaurant the other day to celebrate her birthday and she ordered the parmesan crusted tilapia with lemon cream sauce. I sampled it and found it delicious as I savored it ever so meticulously. Tilapia is something we consume routinely now as Kroger’s sells it at a discounted price and it comes pre-crusted in several flavors, tortilla-crusted being my favorite.
It now appears however that my earlier self-imposed restraints might have had some health serving benefits to it A few days following this I have come across several sources of information that have me on the verge of giving up this cherished pleasure. At first the news was good as I read an article in the current issue of the AARP magazine entitled “The New American Diet”.
Seventeen years ago, AARP teamed up with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the effects of dietary and lifestyle choices on the incidence of cancer and other diseases among half a million people ages 50 or older.
Over the past few years the study has provided a wealth of information about what we should and should not eat to live a long, healthy life. In short, we know how certain foods affect our bodies, so we can adjust our diet accordingly to stay healthy and lose weight. SOURCE
To my delight one of the recommendations in this study encouraged readers to Get fishy! Pointing out the benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids in seafood, especially its importance for a healthy brain, I felt a confirmation about my choice to eat more fish even though I was aware of previous problems with high mercury levels in them. Yet this article from the health experts at the NIH and AARP said nothing about this ongoing problem and recommended two-to-three servings of fish each week, making me feel that perhaps the threat of mercury-laden fish was waning.
Then within the next day or two I get this from Juan Cole’s blog Informed Comment:
A new study has found that 84% of all fish have unhealthy levels of mercury!. … From a 2012 UN assessment of the mercury threat we find that human-caused “emissions and releases have doubled the amount of mercury in the top 100 meters [yards] of the world’s oceans in the last 100 years. Concentrations in deeper waters have increased by only 10-25%, because of the slow transfer of mercury from surface waters into the deep oceans.” SOURCE
The likelihood that most of the fish I have been eating over the last few years has dangerous levels of mercury in it is 8 out of 10 times with the potential to get higher as those deep water marine life become more tainted with mercury that comes from MAN MADE SOURCES. Something I will discuss momentarily in greater detail
The last piece of information that made me sit up quickly was found in this report by CBS news that talked about the effects mercury was having on the CEO of the movie company IMAX, Richard Gelfond.
Richard Gelfond always considered himself athletic, until one day, something went very wrong. “I went running, and it felt like I was going to fall over,” said Gelfond, adding it had something to do with his balance.
Gelfond, … consulted doctors on both coasts. They had no answers. He was worried. “It got to the point where I really couldn’t cross the street. I had to hold my wife’s hand,” Gelfond said.
Many tests later, a neurologist asked Gelfond if he ate a lot of fish. He did, twice a day. The diagnosis was mercury poisoning. “I thought I was doing something really good for my body, and it turned out I was doing something really bad for my body,” Gelfond said.
It was Gelfond’s comment about feeling “like I was going to fall over” that put a knot in my stomach. Only days earlier I experienced some recurring minor dizziness that had me clutching for walls or furniture to balance myself as I stood up from a sitting position. My mind raced around this thought. “Could these on again, off again dizzy spells be an early indicator of mercury poisoning from fish consumption on my part?
After getting a little worried, I began to get mad. Why hadn’t the AARP article with all of its healthy advice alluded to the problems we’ve had with mercury in fish. It appears that their article went to press before this study on high levels of mercury in fish from the Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) sent out a press release on January 9th of this year, so I can’t accuse them of covering up this pertinent information. None-the-less, saying nothing about mercury in seafood seems like a terrible lapse by the medical professionals encouraging older people to eat more fish – the same age population that are more susceptible to other neurological disorders like Alzheimers.
But I guess the thrust if any anger needs to go to two entities that share some degree of responsibilities for these findings. First and foremost is the coal industry and their partners in crime who have promoted and fought to sustain coal-fired power plants.
The message to take away is not never to eat fish. It is that there is too much mercury in our environment. Half of all mercury emissions in the United States come from coal-fired power plants, and a quarter of mercury released into the environment globally is from coal. Some 1200 new coal plants (600 in the U.S.) are now planned around the world, and this must not be allowed. SOURCE