Fish-Counter Sting Operation Suggests Illegal Mercury Levels May Be Widespread

More

>There's something fishy in our fish: mercury. A California-based campaign called Got Mercury? has revealed high levels of methylmercury in several kinds of fish, GOOD reports, often well above federal limits. Mercury in seafood has long posed risks, especially to pregnant women, and comes from pollution. Although the exact level at which mercury becomes dangerous remains a source of debate, the news does not bode well, especially for the swordfish-lovers among us:

The campaign explains that they "randomly selected 41 grocery stores in California to purchase fresh and frozen samples of swordfish, ahi tuna or yellowfin tuna, and salmon," which they then submitted to laboratory analysis. Their findings include the startling fact that more than a third of the grocery store fish studied had levels of methylmercury in excess of the the FDA do-not-sell limit of 1 part per million, with swordfish being by far the worst offender. In fact, only 6 of the 32 swordfish samples analyzed came in below 1 part per million, and one fish, purchased at a Ralph's in Los Angeles, had 3 parts per million.

Full details on where each sample was purchased and how it fared during testing are available in Got Mercury?'s "Operation Safe Seafood" report [PDF], which also includes a list of recommended next steps for both legislators and individual consumers, as well as the link for a handy app that helps you calculate your mercury exposure.

Read the full story at GOOD.

Jump to comments
Presented by

John Hendel is a writer based in Washington, DC, and a former producer at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Wild Vacation in the Pacific Northwest

A not-so-ordinary road trip, featuring extra-tall art bikes, skateboards, and hand-painted vans


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Health

Just In