Mercury in fish not so toxic?

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    Mercury in fish not so toxic?


    <P lede="true">The mercury that builds up in the flesh of fish may be less dangerous than people feared, scientists said on Thursday.<BODY.CONTENT>THE FINDING BY the researchers, which may come as good news to pregnant women and others who have eaten fish, indicated the structure of the mercury molecules may make them less toxic to people, though they stressed more study is needed. "There may be reason for cautious optimism," Graham George, who did the work at the Stanford University Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory in Menlo Park, California, said in a statement. "The mercury in fish may not be as toxic as many people think -- but there is a lot we need to find out before we can make this conclusion," added George, now at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that is especially harmful to developing fetuses and can cause sensory loss, tremors, loss of muscular coordination, speech, hearing, and visual problems, as well as increased risk of heart attack. A metal, it can build up in tissues. It gets into the environment when toxic waste is burned and the mercury molecules fall from the smoke onto the ground and into water. There it builds up in the bodies of animals that eat contaminated plants and drink contaminated water. Predatory fish, such as tuna, swordfish and lake bass, are especially likely to have high levels of mercury in their flesh. For this reason, the U.S. government advises pregnant women to limit how much they eat. But an important factor is what the mercury, a reactive element, binds with and environmental toxicology experiments have presumed it is methylated -- tied up with carbon and hydrogen atoms. But George and colleagues report in this week's edition of the journal Science that the mercury in fish is actually attached to both a carbon atom and a sulfur atom. And since sulfur attaches more tightly to other elements than methyl groups do -- it is possible that would make the mercury less likely to be metabolized, or taken up, by the body. The researchers used a technique called X-ray absorption spectroscopy to look at the physical structure of the mercury compounds in fish muscle tissue. They tested day-old zebra fish larvae and found the sulfur-mercury compound was less toxic than methylmercury chloride, the compound often used to determine the toxicity of mercury in fish. "People have used methylmercury chloride to model the toxic properties of mercury in fish because they don't know what's on the mercury. And now that we know what's on the mercury in fish tissue, we can better investigate its toxic properties," said George. Now they will look at what form of mercury compound accumulates in mammals that eat mercury-laden fish. "Once we understand how mercury is bound in mammalian tissues, we'll be ideally poised to design a drug that could perhaps remove it," George said.

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    A while back I used to eat 6 or 7 cans of tuna a day. I was concerned that I may be succeptible to mercury poisoning. But toxicity only occurs in long-living fish, because they acquire it over time. Commercial fishermen only use young tuna for their goods.

    Gee, next the FDA is gonna ban fish.
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    This debate regarding the safeness of Mercury in tuna has been going on for at least 30 years as far as I know. There have been reports showing that as few as three servings a week of a large predator fish that contains elevated levels of mercury (like tuna) can cause problems. (That is, not based on a study, but on people who develop symptoms of Mercury poisoning and are later diagnosed to have it.) Anyway, I would not personally eat more than one can a day for this reason.
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    Bah................well I proved that wrong as I used to eat 6 cans per day, and that was like for 4 months at least.

    Maybe thats why I'm so friggin nutty?

    I once heard that dentists have a high suicide rate because they are always using mercury everyday for fillings, etc. That it drives them to go crazy.
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    Originally posted by Jergo
    Bah................well I proved that wrong as I used to eat 6 cans per day, and that was like for 4 months at least.

    Maybe thats why I'm so friggin nutty?

    I once heard that dentists have a high suicide rate because they are always using mercury everyday for fillings, etc. That it drives them to go crazy.
    I did my Master's Thesis on a project dealing with Mercury, and the side effects of Mercury poisoning may not occur until after damage is done. It is like getting cancer--when you notice something is wrong, it can be too late. I do not intend to sound alarmist, but this is not a topic that people should ignore either.

    You are correct regarding the fillings. Silver fillings used to have Mercury in them.
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    Originally posted by Cogar

    I did my Master's Thesis on a project dealing with Mercury, and the side effects of Mercury poisoning may not occur until after damage is done. It is like getting cancer--when you notice something is wrong, it can be too late. I do not intend to sound alarmist, but this is not a topic that people should ignore either.

    You are correct regarding the fillings. Silver fillings used to have Mercury in them.
    UH-OH!! I'm screwed!!

    It figures it would work that way..............damnit....... ......ah well, just gives me another reason to turn down my mother's tuna casserole.
  

  
 

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