Teach a Man to Fish and He’ll Poison His Brain
Fish fanatics watch out! Affluent people eating lots of fish for health reasons may be loading up on mercury as well as omega-3 and other special oils, according to a study published in the current issue of Environmental Health Perspectives. Jane Hightower, a doctor at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, conducted the study with her own patients, a well-to-do group of physicians, executives, bankers, and lawyers. She found that the clients she studied generally had mercury concentrations in their blood that exceeded the safety levels set by the U.S. EPA. When her patients stopped eating fish that accumulate high amounts of mercury (think swordfish, sea bass, and tuna), their mercury levels fell dramatically. Mercury is a no-nonsense toxin that enters water or air as waste from mining, power plants, or incinerators; it can damage the brain and nervous system and lead to the loss of intelligence in children.