Mercury Policy Project

Promoting policies to eliminate mercury use and reduce mercury exposure

Archive for the 'Mercury Facts' 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  In 2004, FDA acknowledged MeHg exposure risks when it issued an online advisory based on now outdated research.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 »

APHA Panel Rejects ADA-Backed Resolution ‘Preserving’ Dental Amalgam Use

June 6th, 2013 by michael

An American Public Health Association panel met last month to review policy proposals and soundly rejected one to “preserve” the use of dental amalgam.   The resolution was backed by the American Dental Association, who claimed that the proposal was a “recent policy decision” by the APHA .   The panel suggested that any revised resolution “…be reflective for support of eventual phase out of the use of dental amalgam” and presented comments from several APHA sections:
•    “The proposed policy statement presents biased and one-sided arguments” on environmental impacts,
•    “Recent studies verifying the benefits of mercury-free alternatives over amalgam (in terms of longevity, accessibility, and the environment) are neglected,”
•    “Scientific evidence, as well as updated data from the United Nations Environment Program and other reputable sources, indicates that amalgam is a significant source of mercury pollution and largely cannot be prevented except by source reduction,”
and
•    “The proposed resolution mischaracterizes its interaction with the Minamata Convention on Mercury that was recently negotiated by the United States and 139 other countries… In particular, the treaty endorsed a phase-down of the use of dental amalgam, which the resolution authors explicitly fail to endorse.”
Further, the submittal from the Environment section noted that “…the proposed resolution is plainly inconsistent with the Association’s comprehensive, precautionary approach to anthropogenic mercury use. ”

Category: Dental Mercury, Mercury Facts, Press Releases, UNEP, 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 »

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 »

Real Cost of Dental Mercury

April 15th, 2012 by kris

Dental mercury fillings pollute the environment, contaminate fish and are far more costly for taxpayers than the alternative tooth-colored material, according to an economics report released by MPP and a broad coalition of health, consumer and environmental groups. The study was prepared by Brussels-based Concorde East/West Sprl and details how society pays for dental mercury through additional pollution control costs, deterioration of public resources, and the health effects associated with mercury contamination. The report shows that when the real cost to taxpayers and the environment is considered, amalgam is significantly more costly than composite as a filling material, by at least $41 more per filling, as reflected in the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology brochure.

Category: Dental Mercury, EU, Emissions, International, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Mercury Products, Press Releases, Reports | No Comments »

WHO/FAO “Experts” Fails to Inform Nations About Mercury Exposure

October 4th, 2011 by kris

The findings of a new WHO/FAO Report on Benefits and Risks of Seafood Consumption were challenged today by MPP as missing a key opportunity to advise governments about mercury risk from fish consumption. “Surprisingly, this expert group failed to address exposure concerns about fish with higher mercury levels, which have led to consumption advisories in the U.S. and around the world,” said MPP director Bender, in a statement “The concept of ‘net benefits’ is severely flawed, because benefits accrue to everyone who eats seafood, but risks are concentrated in the small fraction of the population who regularly choose high-mercury fish,” said Dr. Ned Groth, an MPP science consultant. “It is not acceptable to tolerate significant harm to a minority just because the large majority are better off.”

Category: Dental Mercury, Developing World, Environmental Justice, Events, Fish and Seafood, International, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Mercury Products, Press Releases, Reports, UNEP | No Comments »

MPP urges FDA to “phase down” amalgam use

December 23rd, 2010 by kris

MPP recently provided testimony to an FDA panel charged with re-examining  dental amalgam.  We pointed out  that while FDA panel re-evalutates, the World Health Organization  is expected to recommend that amalgam use be “phased down.”   “We welcome WHO’s  support for “phase down” , and urge FDA to do the same,” said MPP’s director.   The WHO is expected to soon final its meeting report in preparation for the upcoming  International Negotiations Committee deliberations  in Chiba, Japan, 24-28 January, 2011, that will ultimately lead to the adoption of a legally binding instrument on mercury by 2013.

Category: Dental Mercury, Emissions, International, Mercury Exposure, Mercury Facts, Mercury Products, Press Releases, UNEP | No Comments »