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Ciao Ling

Would you like some Tuna with that Mercury ?

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My guess is that no one source of tune is going to be consistently high or low in mercury. Tuna is a carnivorous fish, which means it eats other fish. Those fish contain mercury, which stays in the tuna because mercury tends to become embedded within any creatures body, it is not excreted with waste. The bigger and older the tuna, the more other fish it ate, which means more mercury. And usually, the bigger and older the tuna, the more expensive, which makes for more expensive tuna.

So your higher grades of tuna have more mercury. They didn't mention toro, I bet because of the fat content (I bet the tuna in mercury is fat soluble), it has more mercury. To know what its in the sushi, someone would need to test on a fish by fish basis and I bet that isn't happening. Still, cheaper sushi I bet has less. Cancer isn't the risk one worries about with mercury, brain damage is, and we know for a fact that if you eat enough mercury, you will suffer material nervous system damage.

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http://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl/episodes/2008.../segments/92341

Here is the link to the NPR segment, Marion Nestle was on with her, professor of nutrition food studies and health at NYU. you can listen to it online, its about ten mintues long.

Thanks, Ryan.

I'll check it out.

Mike


Edited by miles717 (log)

-Mike-

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Sushi Yasuda was not busy last Friday night. I can't attribute this anomaly to anything other than the fact that at this point, the majority of Yasuda's customers seem to be American who would have caught wind of this stupidity.

NO WAY! I'm not buying what you're selling! there has to have been another factor?


does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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Wow, that's a great find. I'm especially proud of the researchers who did that study about fish consumption in the Seychelles, Peru and Samoa, since they're from my alma mater. Maybe my tuition money did some good besides just paying administrators exhorbitant amounts. :biggrin:

But seriously, it's an interesting article. Reminds us that it's so easy to prove pretty much any opinion if you're selective about the information you present.

(edited to fix tag i broke)


Edited by feedmec00kies (log)

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Sushi Yasuda was not busy last Friday night. I can't attribute this anomaly to anything other than the fact that at this point, the majority of Yasuda's customers seem to be American who would have caught wind of this stupidity.

NO WAY! I'm not buying what you're selling! there has to have been another factor?

I shit you not; it's true. I'm told there were more staff than diners. At a place that is pretty much packed to the gills any night of the week.

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Slate published an article rebutting the Times piece, which refers to this scientific article studying the effects of diets high in fish on mercury levels and related problems in adults and children. If you can it's worth reading the original article, although the Slate piece does a good job of accurately representing it.

Their finding? Over the 27 years studied, diets high in fish were not associated with negative outcomes. These studies used standardised scales and such to determine 'normality' rather than controls (subjects whose intake of fish was low or normal), but they're long term and very interesting.

I'm not an expert in mercury, fish, or nutrition, nor have I done a review of all of the literature in this area. I do have experience in evaluating how substances (particularly drugs) affect humans in practice. How substances affect us is dependent on their interaction with countless other chemicals and processes, and often it's not as predictable as we would like. I know how it feels to know that a chemical affects a certain biological pathway (from one experiment), know that triggering that pathways causes a certain result (from another experiment), but when you give that chemical to a human in a drug trial you don't get the anticipated result. Just because fish contains mercury and mercury causes health problems, it doesn't necessarily mean that consuming fish causes health problems.

I would be interested in reading a paper that did show this, though (although to be honest, I love fish so that would be pretty disappointing).


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Yes, this is an interesting point, isn't it?

One of the more worthy reasons why Japan is slow to issue warnings on mercury in seafood is that apparently it's not true that inorganic mercury is inorganic mercury; organic mercury is organic mercury, and never the twain shall meet.

I don't know which is the more correct, but some people claim that methyl mercury is cumulative; others say that is not.

What I do wish (and have been hunting up information on) is that we had more information on which varieities of fish tend to be LOW in mercury or other heavy metals, PCBs, dioxin, etc. I imagine that this information is less media-friendly, because the nature of food webs means that there are many,many varieties of fish, some highly local, which don't live long enough or grow big enough to accumulate significant amounts of mercury, while the big predatory species are few and well-known!

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Minamata Disaster

The tale of an entire town poisoned by the Chisso Corporation factory back in the 1950's, which dumped methylmercury into the bay and contaminated the fish everyone lived on- starting with the town's cats.

Not a pretty way to die. Or to live, for that matter.

(Thanks to the Dead Kennedys for their edifiying song on this subject, "Kepone Factory")

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Slate published an article rebutting the Times piece, which refers to this scientific article studying the effects of diets high in fish on mercury levels and related problems in adults and children. If you can it's worth reading the original article, although the Slate piece does a good job of accurately representing it.

The Slate article is an absurd example of a journalist butchering science. Ironic considering its allegations against the Times.

The key quotation from the study cited (from Environmental Research): "The fish eaten in the Seychelles contains the same amount of mercury found in fish consumed in the United States."

Two things to note about this. First, it's a generalization so sweeping that without elaboration it's of no use at all in this discussion. Is the assumption that all fish eaten in the United States contains a uniform amount of mercury? If the study is using an average figure, then we have to keep in mind that the Times' informal study dealt not with all fish in the U.S., nor even with all tuna, but with mostly higher end tuna found at good restaurants and fishmongers in NYC.

And second, the study in E.R. was done in 2000. The Slate journalist is using it to refute an artidle based on data collected over seven years later.

If anyone here with a science background has had a chance to review the full text of the study, I'd be curious to hear if contains any information that might possibly illuminate the issue. The passages cited by Slate certainly don't.


Edited by paulraphael (log)

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This article is extremely unconvincing as a rebuttal. The NY Times article is very simple: the bluefin tuna found in sushi restaurants has more mercury that you should eat on a weekly basis. Unless you are in the habit of eating this very expensive fish regularly, there should be little to worry about. The response in this Slate article merely mentions the interesting study that showed that eating fish regularly is not harmful. Not bluefin tuna, just fish in general. I think we can believe both things.

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This probably the tip of the iceberg on this subject.

I think we are going to find that the levels of Mercury in salmonidae are going to be equally dangerous; especially in sockeye and those raised commercially.

I was reading a paper (and I have lost the reference) from a recent conference of scientists at UW Madison recently on Mercury contamination using "best science available." A major point they made was that the levels are higher in costal tidal areas, estuaries and rivers.

I am sure there will be much more on this in the coming months.

Dave

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