If you’re looking for a little shock and terror to go with your sushi this Halloween, seafood activists have got you covered. Many bizarre hours have been spent in a desperate pursuit of the best way to serve up a little mercury hype with your favorite fish: wallet-sized hype, a hype calculator, hype via text message, hype at the fish counter, even hype from a “sea kitten.” But the ideal medium, of course, is none of the above. We seafood fans like our mercury scares with a hot beverage. Out of a toxic coffee mug.
As yesterday’s “Internal Affairs” columnist at the San Jose Mercury News explained, activists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium really outdid themselves with their latest sushi “education” campaign:
There was a pocket guide telling sushi lovers which fish are the most ecologically friendly, along with sleek biodegradable chopsticks made from some kind of wheat substance… But things started to seem , er, fishy when [Internal Affairs] got to the coffee mug that came with the package.
While it sported cartoon ocean critters on the side, the bottom also bore a sticker warning that the decorations "contain lead, lead compounds and/or cadmium, which are chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer or birth defects.”
Groundless fearmongering about perfectly safe, healthy fish – on a lead-laden mug! And that’s not all. When confronted about the hazardous item in his press kit, aquarium spokesman Ken Peterson replied:
"We’re not concerned about the health of anyone using the mug or we wouldn’t have bought it. If you eat some of the fish off our ‘red list,’ you are more likely to have problems from things like PCBs and mercury."
But just how “more likely” are you to incur any health problems from fish than a coffee mug decorated with lead particles? Mercury-in-fish activists should know the answer better than anyone. Several years ago, sushi scaremongers tried to use Proposition 65, the very same law requiring labels on coffee mugs and other everyday items, to hit canned tuna with a skull-and-crossbones label. And their anti-tuna suit failed in court. On Every. Single. Ridiculous. Legal. Count.