Mercury Ain't So Bad, Honest!

(c) Sarah Lardizabal

File this under potentially disastrous.  The Washington Post noted today that the FDA has a draft report circulating that reverses years of suggested limits on seafood consumption for women and children based on concerns over mercury contamination.  Instead, the draft suggests that women and kids should eat more seafood, claiming that the benefits of a diet inclusive of fish outweigh the potential problems of mercury contamination.

The EPA is at odds with the document, as you might expect, as is the Environmental Working Group.  I especially like this quote from the article:

“This is an astonishing, irresponsible document,” said Richard Wiles, the environmental group’s executive director. “It’s a commentary on how low FDA has sunk as an agency. It was once a fierce protector of America’s health, and now it’s nothing more than a patsy for polluters.”

As a woman I’ve gone far out of my way to avoid mercury laden fish of all varieties as well as keeping within sustainable seafood suggestions.  I find it ridiculous that the FDA argues in favor of seafood’s potential IQ gain of three points for kids while practically ignoring the very real side effects of mercury poisoning in humans which includes neurological problems for both young kids and developing pregnancies.  So we’re going to gain three IQ points but we won’t be able to use them? 

There have got to be other ways for us to load ourselves with the omega-3 fatty acids, selenium and “other minerals” that fish provide without either a) destroying our environment or b) creating a toxic soup within our own bodies.