Mercury in our oceans, air and water should be listed as a major threat, yet its only beginning to be known. As an ocean activist and conservationist, a news story caught my eye – one where the Japanese were seriously thinking of limiting dolphin hunting due to high levels of mercury. (see the story link below) Ironic that the best way to stop hunting the intelligent mammals of the ocean is to make them poisonous.
Several environmental groups, including one of our charities – Oceana – is striving to limit mercury output in cement plants and chlorine plants (which are minor players, Coal plants being the worst culprits). Their legislative and public pressure campaigns are working. Another campaign is to start getting grocery stores to warn pregnant women about mercury dangers in seafood.
Of course there are those who once again blame these increases on alarmist attitudes, the mysterious sea-floor, and not on our industrial activities. There are even bunk web sites like: mercuryfacts.org (sponsored by the national restaurant association), who claim that a little mercury is just fine (patting you on the head while they quote their rationale). Of course the dramatic rise in autism, neurological disorders in children and hyperactive disorders I’m sure they would say are also naturally occurring (maybe they can blame that on the sea-floor too). Over the past eight years, 700,000 pounds of mercury were emitted by US Coal plants.
We live in an interesting age, those who try to warn, those who create official looking websites to protect their corporate interests. Its becoming increasingly difficult for consumers and the general public to know what to believe. Science is constantly under attack, scientists with solid research and concerns are mocked, and activists are labeled. Why would you defend mercury in our food? Perhaps consumers need to ask more questions about motivations.