May 10th, 2013 - Jill Ettinger
Texas has heightened its concern over mercury levels in fish being caught off the Gulf coast of the state, according to The Department of State Health Services, which made the announcement earlier this week.
Read More:Major Mercury Warning for Texas-Caught Fish
December 14th, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
Research conduced by the ocean conservation group, Oceana, has found frequent mislabeling of fish on menus and in grocery stores throughout New York City.
Read More:New York City Awash with Fish Fraud in Restaurants and Supermarkets
March 25th, 2011 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
At this year’s Boston Seafood Show, which opened on March 20th, worldwide organic farming advocate Naturland is urging the fishing industry to consider more eco-friendly fishing techniques.
Hans Hohenester, chairman of the Naturland board of directors, says current fishing practices are unnatural, unsustainable, and contaminate waters with harmful chemicals and antibiotics.
That’s why Naturland has impressive standards and strict procedures for ensuring organic and sustainable production.
Read More:Naturland Promoting Eco Fishing & Aquaculture
October 1st, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
When researchers at the University of Las Vegas tested mercury levels in canned tuna, they were in for a rude awakening.
Of the 300 samples tested, representing three top national brands (unnamed):
- 55% exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for mercury levels ( 0.5 parts per million, or ppm).
- 5% of the samples exceeded 1.0 ppm.
Read More:Canned Tuna Fails Mercury Test
June 30th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
While mercury concentrations in freshwater fish are much higher than in saltwater fish, Duke University researchers have found that saltwater fish—including tuna, mackerel and shark—are a greater health threat to humans.
In freshwater, harmful methylmercury latches onto decayed plants and animal matter, which sunlight can more easily break down. But in seawater, methylmercury latches onto chloride (salt), which doesn’t degrade as easily, and marine life ingests it.
Fish and shellfish have a natural tendency to store methylmercury in their organs, which makes them the leading source of mercury ingestion for humans. A potent neurotoxin, methylmercury can cause kidney problems, neurological disorders and even death, says Heileen Hsu-Kim, PhD, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering. Fetuses exposed to it can develop the same conditions, as well as learning disabilities.
Ingested mercury accumulates in the human body, and Dr. Hsu-Kim says Americans have a high rate of exposure. In fact, 8% of U.S. women exhibit levels that exceed national guidelines.
Dr. Hsu-Kim believes scientists and policymakers should focus on the effects of mercury in oceans instead of freshwater. (Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration make no distinction.)
As you make your grocery list, check mercury levels in specific fish and seafood by visiting the Environmental Defense Fund’s Seafood Selector.
Read More:Study Compares Mercury Levels in Freshwater vs. Saltwater Fish
May 1st, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
You should eat fish at least twice a week, according to the American Heart Association. It’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease.
But concerns over mercury toxicity have prompted many consumers to avoid the fish counter. Luckily, resources like the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch and the Environmental Defense Fund’s Seafood Selector allow you to make safe, healthful meal decisions.
Pacific vs. Atlantic
Pacific halibut, caught along the West Coast from California to Alaska, is an eco-best choice. Alaska, in fact, is home to 75% of the halibut caught in the United States.
Fresh, wild Pacific halibut is usually available between March and November. Frozen halibut roasts, fillets and steaks are available year-round.
Atlantic halibut is another story. It’s an eco-worst choice, as it contains unsafe levels of mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), toxic industrial chemicals.
The Price Factor
Pacific halibut is one of my favorite fish selections because it’s firm and flaky in texture, mild-tasting and extremely versatile. You can grill, bake, roast and sauté it, as several of our blog recipes prove:
Halibut fillets, however, can be expensive. On my latest shopping trip, I blanched at the price: $20 per pound.
Feeling frugal, I opted for sustainable Alaskan cod, which has been on sale over the last month for $6 to $8 per pound at local markets. Another firm fish, it can replace halibut in any of the recipes cited above.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: Ocean Friendly Cuisine: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the World’s Finest Chefs
Photo courtesy of Robert Hsiao
Read More:Sustainable Halibut: Yes to Pacific, No to Atlantic
April 30th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Buy tickets for Disney’s Oceans, and you’ll see sobering footage of a shopping cart on the ocean floor—a sure sign of consumerism run amok.
This simple image conveys an incredibly important message: We’re destroying our environment. Climate change may garner more headlines, but ocean pollution remains a considerable concern.
What can you do to reduce your impact?
- Don’t Litter. Litter is a huge contributor to ocean pollution because it ends up in storm drains that eventually empty into rivers and streams. Even if you live miles away from the ocean, your litter will likely contribute to water pollution.
- Follow the Three R’s. How committed are you to the environmental mantra reduce, reuse, recycle? Your answer has a direct effect on the health of our oceans. Failure to embrace the three R’s leads to ocean pollution and mile-high landfills.
- Increase Your Sewage Awareness. Anything that goes down your dishwasher, washing machine, toilet and sink drains will eventually make its way into the ocean. This often leads to oxygen depletion that harms marine life, as well as nutrient loading, which occurs when excessive nitrogen and phosphorous are deposited into the ocean’s ecosystem. Sewage also increases ocean bacteria and parasites, creating a ripple effect that endangers the fishing and tourism industries.
- Understand the Dangers of Toxic Pollutants. Arguably, nothing is more detrimental to the world’s oceans than toxic pollutants, which have been linked to birth defects in wildlife and may contribute to cancer in humans. Lead and mercury collect in marine animals’ tissues, causing reproductive problems and nerve damage. World Wildlife Federation researchers have found that other wildlife, including polar bears and frogs, have experienced decreased fertility, thyroid dysfunction and demasculinization (in males)—a result of exposure to pesticides and industrial chemicals. Other toxic ocean pollutants include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are typically used to manufacture electrical equipment and have been known to cause reproduction problems in marine life. Genetic abnormalities have also been seen in marine animals exposed to polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are caused by burning wood and coal, as well as oil pollution.
- Participate in Community Cleanup Programs. Many seaside communities offer volunteer beach clean-up programs to keep their beaches clean and safe. By volunteering for such programs, you’re not only doing your part, but you’re also giving yourself an excuse to spend a day at the beach.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: The Culture of Flushing: A Social and Legal History of Sewage
Read More:5 Ways to Help Save Our Oceans
June 11th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
I don’t eat meat, but I eat fish. And I love sushi! All kinds, like salmon and mackerel, even weird stuff, like octopus and squid. It’s all good.
Sushi is a very sheik thing to eat. Celebrities love it. Today, sushi is synonymous with New York City and Los Angeles.
But now, celebrities like Woody Harrelson and Sting are petitioning popular sushi restaurant Nobu to take bluefin off their menu.
Bluefin tuna is nearing extinction. In a letter to Nobu, concerned celebrities asked Nobu to stop serving tuna. I guess it worked, because Nobu’s London restaurant agreed to put a note on the menu telling patrons tuna is endangered.
No one wants Charlie Tuna to disappear and here’s another reason to ditch the tuna. The Environmental Defense Fund calls bluefin tuna an eco-worst and recommends avoiding it, citing mercury and PCB contamination.
Like I said, I love sushi! But I’m careful to order low or no pollution fish. Salmon and mackerel are my favorites—especially sashimi salmon—and both salmon and mackerel are safer choices.
Read More:Celebrities Want Tuna Out of Nobu Restaurants
February 4th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
In China, every 30 seconds a baby is born with physical birth defects and now, officials are claiming 10% of those deformities are due to environmental pollution.
According to the state-run media, that adds up to nearly 1.1 million births a year.
The northern province of Shanxi, a coal-rich region with large-scale chemical industry, is a major source of pollution and reports the nation’s highest rate of birth defects.
Researchers blame China’s 8 main coal zones, saying if the rate of birth defects continues to increase it will soon become a social problem, disrupting economic development and quality of life.
Pollution from coal, specifically mercury emissions, has been linked neurological disorders in humans and animals.
Via the AFP.
Read More:Pollution to Blame for China’s Rise in Birth Defects
January 12th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
Last month, a 40-acre pond of coal ash from a local coal plant, containing dangerous heavy metals, like arsenic, lead, mercury and selenium, flooded a valley in eastern Tennessee. A retention wall broke.
And now, environmental experts worry drinking water around the area is unsafe. Test samples have revealed higher than acceptable levels of toxins, specifically arsenic.
But here’s the kicker. A new report claims hundreds of coal ash dumps in the United States, which can reach up 1,500 acres in size, lack federal regulation and proper monitoring.
Officials claim this could have prevented the spill in Tennessee.
Some believe the absence of regulation is due to the Environmental Protection Agency’s inaction on the issue, almost doing something in 2000, but buckling after the coal industry complained tighter controls would cost $5 billion a year.
Right now, each state handles the overseeing of coal waste, but environmental experts urge this is not enough. The EPA reported 63 sites in 26 states have water contaminated by coal dumps.
The ecological and health impacts of coal ash toxins are severe. In wildlife, it can cause tadpoles to be born without teeth and fish with spinal deformities and heightens the risk of cancer, birth defects and other health problems in humans.
Via The New York Times.
Read More:U.S. Coal Ash Dumps, Unregulated and Unmonitored