Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Something is fishy here.

I love seafood of all kinds, but I do limit my intact of fish that contain mercury.  I just wonder how all of this started.  Does anyone really know why it is just these fish and not all sea life? The primary source of methyl mercury in fish is industrial pollution. Through rain, snow, and runoff, mercury can accumulate in streams, oceans, rivers, and lakes where, aided by bacteria, it undergoes a chemical transformation into methyl mercury, which can be toxic. Fish absorb methyl mercury from water as they feed on aquatic organisms. Larger, longer living fish feed on other fish throughout their lives, thereby accumulating the highest levels of methyl mercury. Cooking preparation and heat does not reduce mercury levels.
Pollution is slowing killing us.  We have to fight against it.
Methyl mercury is found in nearly all fish and shellfish and gets more concentrated up the fish food chain you go. Researchers have concluded that most of us don’t eat enough for it to be a health concern, but some larger fish such as shark, swordfish, pike and walleye can contain up to 1ppm, the highest allowable safe limit for human consumption.

Methyl mercury is a type of mercury ("quicksilver"), a metal that is liquid at room temperature. Most compounds containing mercury are poisonous. Methyl mercury has been used to preserve seed grain, which is fed to animals. Methyl mercury may also form in water when other forms of mercury in the water react with certain bacteria. Methyl mercury poisoning has occurred after people have eaten meat from animals fed seed grain or fish from waters contaminated with methyl mercury (such as Minamata Bay in Japan).
Unborn babies and young infants are very sensitive to methyl mercury's effects. Methyl mercury causes central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) damage. How bad the damage is depends on how much poison gets into the body. Many of the symptoms of mercury poisoning are similar to those seen in cerebral palsy. In fact, methyl mercury is thought to cause a form of cerebral palsy.

The FDA recommends that women who are pregnant, or may become pregnant, and nursing mothers avoid fish that may contain unsafe levels of methyl mercury. Such fish includes swordfish, king mackerel, shark, or tile fish. (Young infants should not be given these fish, either.) You should not eat any type of these fish caught by friends and family. Check with your local or state health departments for warnings against locally caught, noncommercial fish.
Some health care providers have raised concerns about ethyl mercury (thimerosal), a chemical used in some vaccines. However, research shows that childhood vaccines do not lead to dangerous mercury levels in the body. Vaccines used in children today only contain trace amounts of thimerosal. Thimerosal-free vaccines are available.

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