Mercury Policy Project

Promoting policies to eliminate mercury use and reduce mercury exposure

Archive for the 'Fish and Seafood' Category

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  In 2004, FDA acknowledged MeHg exposure risks when it issued an online advisory based on now outdated research.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, EU, Emissions, Environmental Justice, Events, Exports, Fish and Seafood, Gold Mining, Green Lighting, Hg in skin cosmetics, International, Kid Stuff, Mercury & Climate, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Mercury Products, Mercury and Climate Change, Press Releases, Reports, Storage, UNEP, US, Uncategorized | No Comments »

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 | No Comments »

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 | No Comments »

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 | No Comments »

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 | No Comments »

Mercury treaty rises but weak emissions regime undercuts progress

January 19th, 2013 by michael

After four years of deliberation, a new global regime rises today that will govern toxic mercury worldwide.  “Adoption of a global legal agreement on mercury is a major accomplishment,” said Michael T. Bender, co-coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group in an overview and a press release. “Yet the instrument is hampered by weak controls on mercury emissions from major sources like coal-fired power plants.” For more details, see  a short summary of the key articles of the treaty. A more extensive summary explains more details along with some media coverage.

Category: Blogroll, Dental Mercury, Developing World, Fish and Seafood, International, Press Releases, Reports, UNEP | No Comments »

Ahead of UN treaty negotiation, reports show greater mercury risks than earlier thought

December 4th, 2012 by kris

The Zero Mercury Working Group, in cooperation with scientists from the Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) and with other prominent scientists, organized a global webinar to release new findings that demonstrate extensive mercury contamination and summarize studies that show health effects from methylmercury occurring below the level that was considered “safe” just a few years ago. This comes ahead of the final round of United Nations negotiations, scheduled in January 2013, for a global mercury treaty. Slides from the webinar presentations are now available  along with the reports: BRI report; Dr. Groth’s report for ZMWG and ZMWG summary/recommendations.

Category: Events, Fish and Seafood, International, Mercury Exposure, Press Releases, Reports, UNEP | No Comments »

Tuna surprise: Hidden risk in school lunches

September 19th, 2012 by kris

Over the past decade, awareness about the risks of mercury in certain fish has increased and pregnant women in particular have been alerted to shop carefully and a recent study indicates that over one-third of American’s mercury exposure is from tuna.  But what about the risks from fish children consume at school?  In it’s 2011 Annual Report to the Governor, Legislature and Citizens of the State of Vermont, the state mercury advisory committee recommended:  “….collaboration between the Vermont Department of Health and the Department of Education to communicate with Vermont schools and raise awareness among faculty, staff, and parents about the methyl mercury exposure risk to young children of consuming excessive amounts of tuna fish in school lunch programs,” see:  page 2 and 5 of the 2011 report. To further investigate this, MPP announced today in a statement that it is co-releasing with other groups a first ever report on testing for mercury in tuna sold to schools,  “Tuna Surprise,” which received extensive  media coverage.

Category: Fish and Seafood, International, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Press Releases, Reports, US | No Comments »

US, EU, Canada urged to support health provision in mercury treaty

July 6th, 2012 by kris

Joined by the EU, Canada and other developed countries, the U.S. opposed a separate health provision during the fourth (of five) mercury treaty negotiation earlier this week in Punta del Este, Uruguay.  “This is an example of north–south double standard over whether health issues will be addressed equitably,” stated Michael Bender , MPP director, who provided a statement on behalf of the Zero Mercury Working Group during the negotiation. “Mercury is a basic human rights issue. Health strategies to address reducing exposure to mercury must be included in this treaty.”

Category: Academic Projects, Blogroll, Dental Mercury, Developing World, Environmental Justice, Fish and Seafood, International, Press Releases, UNEP, US | No Comments »

Treaty time running out to address the global mercury crisis

July 2nd, 2012 by kris

Governments meeting at the 4th of 5 negotiations are running out of time to address key issues before finalizing a legally binding treaty on mercury. Most major issues remain unresolved and the Zero Mercury Working Group expressed concern over the lack of progress at such a late stage. “There has been no substantial progress on the biggest sources of mercury pollution nor in reconciling the different positions of governments,” said Michael Bender, ZMWG co-coordinator.  Issues as straightforward as the phase out of mercury in products and processes and supply and trade did not progress any better, according to Bender. Barely visible in the draft treaty text are core requirements for the environmentally sound management of mercury, which are contingent on future decisions, and the issue of contaminated sites has only been minimally addressed.

Category: Blogroll, Dental Mercury, Developing World, Fish and Seafood, International, Press Releases, UNEP | No Comments »