San Francisco physician Dr. Jane Hightower is acknowledged by many to be the first doctor in the United States to recognize low-level mercury poisoning in patients who regularly ate certain kinds of fish. Hear firsthand about competing interests, varying government standards, and what it took to get high levels of mercury in the blood seen as a problem.
Dr. Jane M. Hightower
Jane M. Hightower, M.D., is the author of Mercury: Money, Politics and Poison. She is a board-certified internal medicine physician in San Francisco, California.
She published a landmark study that brought the issue of mercury in seafood to national attention. She continues to publish scientific papers and give lectures on the subject.
Diagnosis Mercury: Money, Politics and Poison author Dr. Jane Hightower reads the FDA response to reporter Sue Kwon, who documented a significant increase of mercury in her blood after twenty days of eating tuna. The FDA's "action level" for mercury toxicity does not require the agency to actually take any action.
As supersize me and supersize me albacore style have demonstrated, it isn't good eating too much of anything, whether it be mcdonald's french fries or canned corn. It isn't even good to drink too much water. Everything should be consumed in moderation, hence why we have the food pyramid and its size/quantity proportions.
I do find it disturbing that the FDA won't use the microanalytic process to determine which fish have high levels of mercury. If the fish have too high levels of mercury, wouldn't you just throw it back in the water? I don't think the fish with high levels of mercury will affect the other fish swimming in the water, although I could be completely wrong.
Scary. I don't really like tuna except maybe once in a blue moon in sushi but that is changed now especially after I read this article that talks about how bad raw tuna in sushi is. Apparently there is a lot more mercury in raw tuna than in canned. Here is the article: http://tinyurl.com/kofo5z