Mercury In Tuna Study Needs Some Perspective

There are a number of new reports out about a study on mercury in tuna that are in desperate need of some accurate, scientific perspective. Headlines about the new study say things like; “Mercury Levels Rising In Popular Types Of Tuna.” And indeed that’s what the study purports to find. But, and yes reporters there is a “but,” the levels the study finds are not even close to concerning for public health.

By The Numbers

The study reports, for instance, that changes in mercury concentration in yellowfin tuna include an increase of as much as 5.5%. At the very most, that would put these levels at a concentration of 0.356 ppm. The FDA’s limit for mercury in seafood is 1.0 ppm. And that limit has a tenfold safety factor built-in. That means the lowest level associated with adverse effects is 10.0ppm. The study also notes that 0 of 288 yellowfin tuna samples exceeded this 1.0ppm value.

Big Rise?

Therefore the “big rise” in mercury levels brings yellowfin to 0.356 ppm. Regulators begin to take note if levels consistently reach 10.0ppm… clearly 0.356 is a far cry from 10.0. This is the actual, applicable perspective that is not present in any of the reporting we have seen.

Just The Facts Please

If reporters are going to report on this they need to report the whole story.