The recent warning about mercury levels in the fish we eat is just the latest irresponsible scare campaign, based on misunderstood or intentionally misstated science (“Advocacy groups warn of mercury in fish,” news, Sept. 16). The Food and Drug Administration acknowledges that its “action level” for mercury — the level that some fish in this survey exceeded — is “10 times lower than the lowest levels associated with adverse effects” on people’s health.
So even if the report’s authors found a few fish with mercury levels that are double the FDA’s action level, it would mean that Americans’ health is still protected by a 500-percent safeguard. No fish in this study came anywhere near being dangerous, and claiming otherwise is reckless.
The World Health Organization has concluded that “the general population does not face a significant health risk from methyl mercury” in fish. Apparently, some environmental groups have not gotten the memo. Campaigns like this usually have more to do with creating fear and raising money than protecting the public’s health.