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July 24, 2007

More on mercury

Thanks to high fish consumption, wealthy New Yorkers are more likely than their less-affluent neighbors to have elevated mercury in their blood, according to a new study that’s the first city-specific survey of mercury levels. New Yorkers in the top tax bracket have blood mercury levels 50 percent higher than those in the bottom bracket. The study also found that women and Asian New Yorkers have blood that’s more contaminated than the citywide average.

This widely circulated AP story on the study downplays the threat of mercury to people, quoting a health official who admits “it would be best” for pregnant women and young children to avoid contamination from poisoned fish – despite the fact that scientists around the world have declared the danger of mercury contamination to the developing fetus, and believe that adult men may be at risk, too. The story does, helpfully, point out it’s probably not the best idea to eat fish taken from the rivers alongside Manhattan, the heavily polluted Hudson and East rivers. Thanks for the breaking news, Associated Press.

Of course none of this is news to Oceana. Read about our findings in our newly released report, “Cleaning Up: Taking Mercury-Free Chlorine Production to the Bank.”