The EWG Mercury Conspiracy Lives On

The professional fearmonger, anti-vaccination-conspiracy-theory-pusher, and all-around activist shop that is the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is out today with another addition to their collection of flawed reports on mercury and seafood. This new EWG’s Consumer Guide to Seafood is a rehash of the same debunked and tired tropes EWG has been trying to push on the public for years.

Like any tried-and-true conspiracy theorist, EWG continues to argue despite the growing reams of evidence on the topic as well as recommendations from the World Health Organization, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Institute of Medicine, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and recent joint draft advice from the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration (which itself relied on hundreds of independent, published, peer-reviewed studies) that they, and only they, are in a position to tell the truth about mercury in fish.

Take for instance EWG’s claims that the current safe dose level established by the EPA in 2001 [is] now considered outdated and too high by many scientists. EWG doesn’t attempt to answer which scientists, or how many scientists, or what their qualifications are, or offer any guess as to why this purported group has a different take on this issue. Instead, they ask readers to take it as a matter of faith that their pronouncements on mercury trump the scientific consensus reached through hundreds of rigorous, peer-reviewed studies.

EWG also fails to note that the safe dose levels established by the FDA itself includes a 10-fold safety factor, meaning that a fish would have to exceed the current level by a factor of ten to reach dose levels actually associated with adverse effects.

EWG warns that pregnant women and children should limit or avoid canned tuna. Of course this flies in the face of the FDA’s new draft advice, which confirms not only that canned tuna is a healthy choice for pregnant woman and children, but that women should eat at least 8 ounces of a variety of seafood to enjoy health benefits and avoid risks to themselves and their children.

To take agenda-driven activists like EWG seriously would itself be a serious mistake. When it comes to health and nutrition, let’s stick with the experts.