Friday, February 01, 2008

There are actually two stories

here, and both of them make the NY Effin' Times look like the untrustworthy rag it is.
First is the main:

We now have a national newspaper create a news story, then report it as news, incorrectly — and, incredibly, that is considered professional journalism.

New York Times bought tuna from twenty stores and select restaurants and had them all tested for mercury levels. What did it find?

All of the tuna it tested being sold commercially in New York had mercury levels nearly ten times below the lowest amount that has been shown might ever pose a danger to the most sensitive population (babies and children) with a lifetime of daily exposure.

Good news, reassuring news, helpful news. There is no evidence of anything to fear.

But that was not what the paper’s health reporter or editors reported this week. Instead, the paper put a different spin on the findings. In a story quoting well-known mercury activists, it headlined its sushi series with “High Mercury Levels Are Found in Tuna Sushi.”

Then further down, on the subject of all that toxic mercury the health nannies have been scaring people about for years,
The Times proceeded to warn of the risks for women who might become pregnant and children. It failed to mention that according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), not a single woman of childbearing age or child in the United States has mercury levels anywhere close to unsafe levels.

In fact, it’s impossible for American women to eat enough fish to put their newborns at risk, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Information Services. It analyzed the diets of American women of childbearing years using several available dietary surveys and factored in endless possibilities — such as heavy fish consumption, eating fish varieties with the highest methylmercury levels, repeatedly eating the same fish, and the amounts of methylmercury in a range of commercial fish samples. After 100,000 iterations, they found it was inconceivable for a mother to eat so much purchased fish she’d put her baby anywhere near harm’s way. Dr. James Heimbach, former associate administrator with the HNIS, reported at the FDA Methylmercury scientific meetings that American women “simply are not exposed to levels of methylmercury that would place the newborn children at risk.”

The Times also failed to mention any of the research of the world’s foremost experts on methylmercury and health — even though it has been widely reported and internationally recognized. For more than 30 years, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center, in Rochester, New York, have closely followed populations eating large amounts of fish, including Samoans, Peruvians and residents of the Seychelles, and found no associated adverse effects in adults or children. The most careful and exhaustive, double-blind, longitudinal methylmercury exposure study ever conducted on expectant mothers and children was done on the people of Seychelles. These people have the highest per capita consumption of fish in the world, typically 12 fish meals each week, the same types of fish Americans eat. Even though the Seychelles children get 10 to 20 times more methylmercury than U.S. children, the researchers have tested them for more than 14 years now (using multiple global tests and over 57 endpoints for neurocognitive, language, memory, motor, perceptual-motor, and behavioral functions) and found no detectable adverse effects.

So after all the God-cursed posturing politicians and food nazis lecturing us on the evils of our power plants and scaring hell out of people(remember Alar?), it turns out all the 'terrify people in the name of doing good(as WE see it)' was a large, steaming, maggot-infested pile of what comes out the south end of the northbound bull. That has syphilis.

And the NYeffin' Times once again reminds us of why only they are professional enough, edited enough, fact-checked enough and trustworthy enough to tell us what they decide we need to heartell us the news.


Arthur said...

Well, they're just letting you know that mercury is really really bad.

But not the mercury in compact fluorescent lightbulbs. That's ok.

Unless there isn't enough in the bulbs to cause a problem? Or is there?

It's hard to remember what I'm 'sposed to be terrified of from week to week.

Anyway, I'm sure more government regulation is the answer.

Anonymous said...

You know, maybe our children are not getting massive toxic doses from the fish mom is eating... That's OK --- because we make sure they get their fair share when they are born. Check out the statistics below. Mercury is going to make our country one of the dumbest in the world.... YEAH - a new recognition for the U.S.

Vaccines and Autism. This report talks about autism rates. The information is staggering. In Illinois, in one decade 1992-2002, the rate went up over 76,000% ---- that is over seventy-six thousand percent... and all states have had similar, and dramatic increases.

markm said...

anonymous: If you'd done any fact-checking, you'd know that mercury hasn't been used in vaccines in this country for over five years. Since autism presents at age two or three, all new cases are in kids that never received a vaccine with mercury preservatives - and yet autism diagnoses keep right on rising.

Sigivald said...

What mark said, anonymous.

Mercury in vaccines is not causing autism.

Hell, the best explanation I've ever seen for the "rising autism rate" is a change in definitions combined with much more looking for it.

As with almost all Horrible Crises in the modern world, it isn't one.