In arguing that California’s food regulators should be permitted to enforce stricter standards than what federal government scientists believe is prudent, Al Meyerhoff and Carl Pope cited the well-worn example of mercury in fish (Opinion, March 21).
If the authors were familiar with the scientific literature on the subject, they would know the reason why Food and Drug Administration scientists seldom enforce the “action level” for mercury in fish. In the FDA’s own words, the action level was established to limit consumers’ mercury exposure “to levels 10 times lower than the lowest levels associated with adverse effects.” That’s a 1,000% safety cushion.
But because of Proposition 65, California is empowered to issue warning labels anyway.
Risk-wary Californians thus eat less fish and miss out on the health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids, which can prevent strokes, heart disease and premature births. This kind of comprehensive, sober analysis is exactly why we have the FDA.