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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shark fin is toxic!

The Environmental Defense Fund's seafood selector lists Shark as an eco-worst choice. It states:

If you decide to eat it, we recommend the following due to elevated mercury levels:

  • Women should not eat at all
  • Men should eat no more than 1 meal per month
  • Kids up to age 12 should not eat at all

Mercury enters streams, rivers, lakes and oceans primarily through rain and surface water runoff. Bacteria can then convert it to an organic form called methylmercury -- the form that is dangerous to people. When small fish with low mercury levels get eaten by bigger fish, the amount of mercury biomagnifies. For this reason, long-lived fish and top-level predators like swordfish and shark often have the highest mercury levels.

Mercury targets the nervous system and kidneys. Developing fetuses, infants and young children are at the highest risk from mercury exposure, since their brains and nervous systems are still forming. Fetuses can absorb mercury directly across the placenta, and nursing infants can get it from their mother's breast milk.

Children exposed to mercury before birth may exhibit problems with mental development and coordination, including how they think, learn and problem-solve later in life.

Mercury exposure can also harm adults. Symptoms can include numbness, burning or tingling of the extremities (lips, fingers, toes); fatigue; weakness; irritability; shyness; loss of memory and coordination; tremors; and changes in hearing and blurred vision. Extremely high mercury levels can permanently damage an adult's brain and kidneys, or even lead to circulatory failure.

That is terrible! I wonder if the people who want to help their parents save "face" at their weddings are aware that they are instead exposing all their relatives and friends to toxic chemicals.

This Shark Fact List goes further to state:

The legal limit for consumption of methyl-mercury, set by the EPA, is 0.1 microgram per kilogram of body weight. Studies have shown shark meat contains as much as 1,400 micrograms of methyl-mercury in one kilogram. A person weighing 155 lbs would therefore get 50 times the legal amount in one single portion of shark steak.
Sounds "delicious" indeed.

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