Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mercury Alert

I really do think that children, if no one else, should be exempt from corporate profiteering and denial. I know my average reader understands how dangerous toxins like mercury are. My readers are the type of people that go out of their way to provide a safe & health environment for their own or other children. Sometimes I think it is some sort of game, survival of the fittest, the goal being more then just feeding, clothing, playing with, listening and caring for your or other children. It's as if "Corporate America" views consumers as wallets on legs, looking for products to solve their needs. Corporations say we have the solution, though they used the cheapest ingredient possible, they may contain toxins, but it is the parent's responsibility to figure out if the products are safe.

This is a quote out of the Washington Post.

Consumer Alert
"The Food and Drug Administration is urging the government to amend its advisory that women and children should limit how much fish they eat, saying that the benefits of seafood outweigh the health risks and that most people should eat more fish, even if it contains mercury."

"The FDA sent its draft report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, to the White House Office of Management and Budget as part of the FDA's effort to update the existing health advisory. The report argued that nutrients in fish, including omega-3 fatty acids, selenium and other minerals could boost a child's IQ by three points."

What does this mean?

These are the claimed benefits for eating fish; Omega-3 fatty acids & Selenium. These benefits are claimed to equal 3 IQ points. Mind you you can get these nutrients in other foods.

Are these three IQ points suppose to compensate for mercury poisoning? I don't think they do. I would think that the three point of IQ are then neutralized by the IQ deficit cause from the mercury then add a decrease in language skills, memory and attention. Here are some quotes about Methylemercury on Wikipedia.

"Several studies indicate that methylmercury is linked to subtle developmental deficits in children exposed in-utero such as loss of IQ points, and decreased performance in tests of language skills, memory function and attention deficits."

"Ingested methylmercury is readily and completely absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. It is mostly found complexed with free cysteine and with proteins and peptides containing that amino acid. The methylmercuric-cysteinyl complex is recognized by amino acid transporting proteins in the body as methionine, another essential amino acid.[5] Because of this mimicry, it is transported freely throughout the body including across the blood-brain barrier and across the placenta, where it is absorbed by the developing fetus. Because of this mimicry and its strong binding to proteins methylmercury is not readily eliminated."

"Fish and shelfish have a natural tendency to concentrate mercury in their bodies, often in the form of methylmercury, a highly toxic organic compound of mercury. Species of fish that are high on the food chain, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, albacore tuna, and tilefish contain higher concentrations of mercury than others."

The EPA have some history, concerns and answered questions on their site HERE.

In regards to the human body and mercury, one quote from the EPA's site is as follows.

"If you regularly eat types of fish that are high in methylmercury, it can accumulate in your blood stream over time. Methylmercury is removed from the body naturally, but it may take over a year for the levels to drop significantly. Thus, it may be present in a woman even before she becomes pregnant. This is the reason why women who are trying to become pregnant should also avoid eating certain types of fish."

Here is an interesting note to leave you with...Two people each with their own agenda, one science one money. Which would you believe?

"Kathryn Mahaffey, who was the EPA's top mercury scientist until she left the agency in August to become a lecturer at George Washington University School of Public Health, said the FDA used an 'oversimplified approach' that could increase the public's exposure to mercury.

But Gavin Gibbons, a spokesman for the National Fisheries Institute, applauded the FDA's efforts. 'This is a science-based approach,' he said. 'And you start to see a picture emerge that shows the clear benefits of eating seafood outweigh the risks of a trace amount of mercury in fish."


Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Holidays

I hope all my readers are finding time to enjoy the holiday merriment. We have three holidays approaching: The first night of Hanukkah on Dec 21st which is also the first day of winter, Christmas Eve and Day on Dec 24th & 25th, and Kwanzaa on Dec 26th.

I look at my little family and I have to admit that I am tempted to celebrate all the holidays not just my personal, traditional ones. I think it is because I am grateful to live in an area that is, not tolerant but instead embraces all the great things that different cultures offer. Yes, I am a "One Human Race" type of person. To me the diversity is enriching and provides a chance to be closer to friends, by learning about their personal beliefs and cultures. So, if you know someone who celebrates one of the mentioned holidays or any other, take not just a moment, to ask them about their history and culture.

Happy Holidays