To the Editor:
I was quite alarmed to read about Linda Greenlaws’ new venture promoting sword and tuna fish. Having been a mercury activist for 15 years one wonders if Ms. Greenlaw is aware the consequences of eating tuna and swordfish. I haven’t eaten either one since learning of the contamination to both.
Unfortunately, most fish have some degree of chemical contamination with methyl mercury and organic pollutants like dioxins, PCBs and pesticides. These chemicals have adverse effects on the nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems. Some fish are so mercury laden that eating them during pregnancy could damage fetal brain tissue. Pregnant women, those who might become pregnant and young children should avoid fish with high levels of mercury (e.g., shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish), and should eat no more than two fish meals a week of any kind, according to the FDA. Moreover, albacore tuna should be limited to once a week or less.
Sierra Club lists sword fish on its charts as very high in mercury and tuna as high. Both fish to be avoided. They also offer a way to be tested for mercury levels in your body to protect your health.
National Resources Defense Council has a wallet card to carry with you before considering which kind of fish to eat or purchase. On that card sword and tuna are in red to be avoided.
At a conference on mercury, another activist had a mercury vapor analyzer on loan from the manufacturer. A child who had just eaten a tuna sandwich wanted her to test him. He tested very high on mercury vapor in his mouth, and his pocket, where the other half of his sandwich resided. Mercury vapor is what is so deadly when mercury is exposed to the air.
Just some “food” for thought.