Here’s a little cautionary tale about how bigger is not always better, and knowing who to blame doesn’t necessarily solve the problem. It’s also about the inter-connectedness of our energy and food systems, and specifically how coal-fired power plants affect your diet.
Say you were camping with friends and caught a really BIG fish. This squirming monster would give you bragging rights for a year. Now say you caught a smaller fish, suitable for pan frying but not Kodak-worthy.
What do you do? If you’re Daniel Boone, you toss the little guy back. But if you’re a post-industrial age sportsman or woman, you will want to consider this: Keep the big hunker and you’ve got more to eat, and disproportionately more mercury contamination.
PALO ALTO, CA (KGO) — A federal agency has issued an alarming report that mercury contamination in fish has become widespread across the country, including Northern California. Many people fish for recreation; they also eat what they catch. But the U.S. Geological Survey says they also could be ingesting unhealthy levels of mercury. >> Read the full story
The U.S. Geological Survey has released a study showing an increase in mercury emissions from human sources is affecting the fish population in the Pacific Ocean.
Scientists had predicted a 50 percent increase in mercury levels in the Pacific Ocean by 2050, if mercury emission rates continue as projected. Human contribution to mercury pollution includes coal burning power plants and waste incineration. The water sampled for this study — released May 1 — shows that the mercury levels in 2006 were already approximately 30 percent higher than the same samples in the 1990′s.
Oh for the days when all we had to worry about was a little pesticide residue on our apples. This past week brought two reminders that what we don’t know is in our food can hurt us.
The peanut butter snack recalls continued flying off the conveyor belt, noteworthy for the sheer number of products potentially tainted with salmonella –more than 400 at last count. All that contamination from one little ole peanut processing plant in Georgia. Best to heed the advice of the Food and Drug Administration’s Dr. Stephen Sundlof, “If you don’t know the source of the food that contains peanuts, don’t eat it.” At the same time, the FDA has declared that “national name brand peanut butter” sold in jars at retail has not been contaminated.
We also learned last week that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), that controversial, cheap and ubiquitous sweetener might contain more than just the empty calories blamed for our flourishing flab. A study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) reported finding traces of mercury in 17 of 55 tested foods made with HFCS.
A study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) reported finding traces of mercury in 17 of 55 tested foods made with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Read more in our blog: A side of heavy metal with your sloppy joe?