UNLV environmental health professor Shawn Gerstenberger and his team are wrong to conclude that trace mercury levels in canned tuna warrant a warning label ("Study: Mercury in canned tuna high," Friday Review-Journal). The last thing consumers need is a public health scare over something that has never caused harm to Americans.
The entire medical literature doesn't contain a single documented case of mercury poisoning caused by commercially sold fish. Not one. And pregnant women should be made aware that there are no cases of fetal mercury toxicity on record in the United States.
The only cases of neurological problems ever linked to mercury in commercial fish were in Japan more than 40 years ago in a case involving a massive industrial chemical spill. Today's Japanese eat more than eight times as much fish as Americans, and their population suffers no ill effects.
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aptly noted in a report last month, "Finding a measurable amount of mercury in blood or urine does not mean that levels of mercury cause an adverse health effect."
The well-documented health benefits of consuming fish far outweigh any hypothetical health risks.
It's time to toss mercury hype overboard and recognize fish for the "brain food" that it is.
– David Martosko