Peter’s post on mercury generated some passionate responses. Things have quited down a bit around here so I thought I would throw a bit of gas on the fire.
Oceana released results of hair tests conducted at last year’s Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, the oldes and largest saltwater fishing tournament in the US. The result…rodeo contestants had significantly higher levels of mercury in their bodies than would be found in the general population. This study mirrors that done a mere 6 years ago in which the Press-Register showed that anglers have higher mercury levels than non-anglers. Some Gulf Coast residents were found to have mercury levels five to nine times higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s safe level of 1 part per million in their hair.
Although the test are not as thorough as I would have liked to seen (65 of an ~3,000 participants), Oceana does provide fairly convincing results. A third of the 65 contestants had mercury levels above the EPA safe level, and the average of the total group was 0.93 parts per million, or nearly equal to the safe level. The reason for the high levels…the anglers who reported eating the most fish, especially large predators where mercury can concentrate, possessed the highest mercury levels,