Mercury Policy Project

Promoting policies to eliminate mercury use and reduce mercury exposure

Archive for the 'Mercury Exposure' Category

Mercury hair tests reduce maternal exposure

April 13th, 2017 by michael

A new study shows that offering hair-mercury analysis to pregnant women can significantly reduce maternal exposure, since government website warnings are generally not protective enough  and hard to find.  Initially about 20% of those tested had mercury levels that were too high, but 3 months later, only 8% exceeded the limit. Mercury levels decreased by 21% during this period, although the total seafood intake remained the same. One of the report authors notes  that an analysis can be done for about $10, and even after related expenses, the costs are minuscule compared with the IQs saved in the baby.

Category: Academic Projects, International, Mercury Exposure, Reports, US | Comments Off on Mercury hair tests reduce maternal exposure

U.S. Gives “Fishy” Advice, Exposing Babies to Too Much Mercury

January 18th, 2017 by michael

Pregnant women who follow the new U.S. fish advice will be exposed to far too much mercury, say scientists and advocates. A recent study by MPP and EWG shows that following the new U.S. advisory will put babies at risk. “Our research suggests that women who follow this advice will consume dangerous amounts of mercury,” said Sonya Lunder, an EWG senior scientist who joined MPP in a statement. “Women of child bearing age and pregnant women in particular need advice to reduce their exposure. This advice doesn’t do that.” Research (since updated) indicates that nearly half (47%) of American’s exposure to methylmercury comes from tuna consumption, with the following contributions: canned albacore (20%), canned light (19%) and frozen/sushi (8%). “FDA’s advice does not protect babies—nor future generations—from mercury exposure risks,” said Michael Bender, director of the Mercury Policy Project. “The most important advice any agency could give to pregnant women to reduce their mercury exposure is “Don’t eat tuna.” Consumers interested in low mercury fish high in beneficial nutrients can visit EWG’s guide.

 

Category: Environmental Justice, Fish and Seafood, Mercury Exposure, Press Releases, US | Comments Off on U.S. Gives “Fishy” Advice, Exposing Babies to Too Much Mercury

US EPA regulates dental mercury discharge

December 15th, 2016 by michael

EPA issued a new rule to control dental mercury releases from  entering municipal treatment plants, the nation’s waters and the fish Americans eat. EPA’s rule requires dental clinics to install amalgam separators and implement “best management practices.”  The Agency expects compliance will reduce mercury discharges by over 10 tons per year. “Mercury from dental clinics is the largest source of mercury in municipal wastewater, the largest consumer use and also the largest reservoir of mercury in use today,” MPP’s director said in a statement. “Amalgam separators are easy to install and maintain.  They are also a practical, affordable and available technology for capturing mercury.” According to EPA, removing mercury at dental offices—where it is concentrated and easy to manage—is both an economical and common sense solution to prevent releases.  EPA estimates that the average annual cost of the rule per dental office is about 800 dollars.

Category: Blogroll, Dental Mercury, Emissions, Fish and Seafood, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Mercury Products, Press Releases, US | Comments Off on US EPA regulates dental mercury discharge

Study shows draft EPA/FDA mercury fish advice not protective nor beneficial enough

March 20th, 2016 by michael

EWG and MPP received extensive media coverage after releasing results measuring mercury hair levels in over 250 women who eat two or more seafood meals per week, the amount EPA/FDA recommend.  Testing indicates 29% exceed the EPA guideline for mercury exposure during pregnancy (1 ppm) and 59% exceed a more protective upper limit of 0.58 ppm recommended by scientists. Tuna was a major source of participant’s mercury exposure (40% of estimated ingestion) which is consistent with MPP’s (now updated) analysis, using FDA’s data, which shows tuna accounts for 45% of mercury in the US seafood supply.  Notably only 17% of the mercury in participants’ diets was from species identified in EPA/FDA’s draft advice, which  is incomplete because it fails to provide enough detail about which mercury-laden species to limit or avoid (i.e. tuna)  and which are low in mercury and higher in omega-3s.


Category: Academic Projects, Environmental Justice, Fish and Seafood, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Press Releases, Reports, US | Comments Off on Study shows draft EPA/FDA mercury fish advice not protective nor beneficial enough

New FDA/EPA advice fails to protect women & children from methlymercury

June 25th, 2014 by michael

A new federal advisory promoting seafood fails to protect sensitive populations from methylmercury exposure, according to an analysis by Environmental Working Group and MPP.  “There’s something really ‘fishy’ about the agencies’ fixation on health benefit studies while  ignoring the latest science on methylmercury exposure,” said MPP Director Bender in a statement.

Category: Fish and Seafood, Mercury Exposure, Press Releases, Reports, US | Comments Off on New FDA/EPA advice fails to protect women & children from methlymercury

FDA sued over its failure to effectively warn consumers about mercury risks from fish

March 12th, 2014 by michael

On behalf of CSPI and MPP, Earthjustice recently filed a lawsuit in federal court against FDA for failing to respond to our 2011 petition requesting the Agency to give consumers clear, accurate and accessible information about mercury in seafood (as recent press reports explain.)  The lawsuit seeks a court-ordered deadline since under its own regulations, FDA had 180 days to respond and its failure to do so violates federal law.  In 2004, FDA acknowledged MeHg exposure risks when it issued an online advisory based on now outdated research.  Several recent studies suggest adverse effects at exposure levels 10-fold lower than those considered acceptable a decade ago.

Category: Academic Projects, Blogroll, Dental Mercury, Developing World, Emissions, Environmental Justice, EU, Events, Exports, Fish and Seafood, Gold Mining, Green Lighting, Hg in skin cosmetics, International, Kid Stuff, Mercury & Climate, Mercury and Climate Change, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Mercury Products, Press Releases, Reports, Storage, Uncategorized, UNEP, US | Comments Off on FDA sued over its failure to effectively warn consumers about mercury risks from fish

NGO Seminar on MeHg Exposure from Fish

December 10th, 2013 by michael

A seminar on methylmercury exposure issues was hosted for over 20 public interest NGOs was held Dec.3rd at Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C.,organized by Dr. Ned Groth and MPP Director Bender  (reporting.)   The meeting report is available here. During the morning, we were updated on recent research, including:  1) Recent Epidemiological Evidence and Evolving Perspectives on Benefits and Risks, by Ned Groth, PhD, Independent Consultant, (see also report); 2) Potential benefits and harm of fish consumption,By Emily Oken, MD, MPH, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School, 3) Recent Advances in Databases on Mercury in Fish, by Tim Fitzgerald, PhD, Environmental Defense Fund. The afternoon session included presentations by federal agency officials: 1) Qualitative Modeling of Benefits and Risks and Implications for Risk Management for Mercury Exposure from Commercially-Caught Fish, by Philip Spiller, Senior Advisor, FDA/CFSAN, 2) Review and Update of the Reference Doses for inorganic Hg and methylmercury, by Samantha Jones, PhD,  Associate Director for Science, IRIS Program, US EPA. 3) Update of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, by Stephanie Goodwin, PhD,  Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, US DHHS.

Category: Academic Projects, Fish and Seafood, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Reports, US | Comments Off on NGO Seminar on MeHg Exposure from Fish

In advance of mercury treaty adoption, ZMWG hair ‘snapshot’ shows worldwide exposure

October 4th, 2013 by michael

A new ZMWG report highlights the importance of the new treaty being ratified as soon as possible to reduce global pollution and exposure to mercury. The treaty will be signed next week near Minamata, where a major mercury poisoning incident was first discovered. NGOs from 9 countries participated in the study in order to ascertain mercury hair levels in women.  Nearly one-quarter (24%) of the samples exceeded the widely recognized U.S. EPA guideline of 1 μg/g.  In 4 countries, a high percentage exceeded the threshold, specifically:  71% in Japan; 64% in Spain; 36% in Mauritius; and 23% in Côte d’Ivoire. “The results indicate that the mercury hair levels in Japanese women were significantly higher than the other countries tested,” said Dr. Takashi Yorifuji, Associate Professor at Okayama University Graduate School of Environmental and Life Science, Japan. “Risk of adverse health effects in children following in utero methylmercury exposures is well documented and rises as maternal exposure increases.”

Category: Developing World, Environmental Justice, Events, Fish and Seafood, International, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Press Releases, Reports, UNEP | Comments Off on In advance of mercury treaty adoption, ZMWG hair ‘snapshot’ shows worldwide exposure

Obama urged to update consumer advisory on methlymercury in fish

August 18th, 2013 by michael

Following a letter from 21 US Senators, an August 15th letter from scientists, MDs and NGOs  urged President Obama to instruct  federal agencies to update the  consumer advisory on methylmercury .  Our letter echoed the earlier Senators letter:“This is the third time a wide bipartisan group of Senators has written to you requesting your help removing roadblocks to finalizing the FDA advice to pregnant women on seafood consumption.  Pregnant women, physicians and medical professionals, however, are still waiting despite numerous commitments in 2011, 2012 and 2013 to finalize the FDA advisory.” Earlier this year, we sent a  similar letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius, but the response back from FDA was not promising.

Category: Fish and Seafood, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Press Releases, US | Comments Off on Obama urged to update consumer advisory on methlymercury in fish

U.S. advisory on mercury in fish tied up at health department

May 15th, 2013 by michael

There was news coverage today of a letter sent last month by 40  scientists and NGOs, urging HHS Secretary Sebelius  to expedite release of an updated  consumer advisory.  “This policy update needs to be sent out for comment to ensure it’s in line with the latest science.” said MPP Director Bender.   Several months ago, Sebelius assured 22 US Senators that “…completing the updated advisory remains a priority for the Administration,” in response to an earlier letter from the senators to President Obama about the 2010 Dietary Guidelines.  Yet  scientists pointed out to Sebelius in 2011 how they were  flawed.  To separate the facts from the ‘fishy’ fables, see:  http://mercuryfactsandfish.org/.

Category: Fish and Seafood, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Press Releases, US | Comments Off on U.S. advisory on mercury in fish tied up at health department