Outgoing Bush “Health” Officials Rush to
Publish New Mercury-in-Fish Review For Seafood Buddies
90-day comment period opens Jan. 21
Mothers and children could be
encouraged to eat unsafe levels of mercury-laden tuna and swordfish and
never warned about high levels in mercury in fish in response to
pro-seafood reports released by Bush's Food and Drug Administration
(FDA). The shocking proposals were released just days before Bush's FDA
"Health" Commissioners leave for good. See the documents. See the existing advisory. A 90-day public comment period opens Jan 21.
is a cruel, desperate attempt by the Bushies to enrich big-business
friends, in this case 'Big Tuna' by ignoring science at the public's
expense," said Teri Shore of the GotMercury.org, a project of Turtle
Island Restoration Network of Forest Knolls, CA. "If we need to go to
Court over this, we are prepared to do so."
the FDA claims that the "release of these documents for public comment
and peer review do not in any way modify the recommendations set forth
in the 2004 advisory on fish consumption," the agency also stated:
"After public and advisory committee review of these documents are complete, appropriate risk management actions will then be considered on the basis of currently available scientific information." (underline added)Base
on FDA's lackluster enforcement of current advisories and its anemic
enforcement of mercury testing and monitoring regulations, it seems
clear that the agency's main intent is to open the door to allow the
seafood industry to enact even weaker standards.
The FDA's dash to do the seafood industry's bidding comes on the heels of actor Jeremy Piven's collapse from mercury poisoning from eating too mush sushi. The tuna industry also suffered a legal blow when a New Jersey Court found that states were not pre-empted from labeling tuna fish cans with mercury health warnings.
in the form of methylmercury is a potent neurotoxin that can cause slow
growth and lowered IQ, brain and kidney damage, cancer, and an
increased risk of heart disease, according to numerous studies. As many
as 630,000 or 15 percent of newborns in the U.S. are at risk each year
of neurological defects due to mercury contamination, according to the
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.
large-species tuna and swordfish sold in the U. S. typically exceeds
the FDA's for mercury in commercial fish at 1 part per million mercury
- which is double the amount allowed by the U. S. Environmental
Protection Agency for recreational fish and the governments of Canada,
Japan and the European Union. The FDA has never developed a "safe
level" for mercury blood levels in people.
FDA standard is more than 30 years old and is based on bad science and
industry interference that dates to a 1971 lawsuit between Anderson
Seafoods and the FDA. The standard is based almost entirely on faulty
field research from a mercury poisoning in Iraq that never established
minimal-effect or no-effect levels for mercury exposure. This is
documented in the new book "Diagnosis Mercury" by Dr. Jane Hightower of San Francisco.
publishes a free online mercury calculator for people to estimate
mercury exposure from fish and has worked with the state of California
on legal actions to require public warning signs to be posted at
seafood restaurants and stores. It advocates for seafood testing for
mercury, labeling and the slashing of allowable mercury levels in fish
to .5 ppm or less.
year, the California State Legislature passed Assembly Joint Resolution
57 authored by Jared Huffman that urged the FDA to take stronger action
to warn people about mercury in fish.