is a toxic contaminant that is showing up in dangerously high
concentrations in the fish we eat. An EPA scientist estimated that one in six American women has enough mercury in her blood to pose neurological risks to her developing baby.
This means that hundreds of thousands of newborns could be handicapped by mercury from the very beginning of their lives.
Instead of encouraging the posting of signs at seafood counters and on tuna shelves, the FDA began working to prevent the state of California from using the state's right-to-know law to educate its citizens about mercury in seafood.
Sign our open letter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Lester Crawford today and tell him that consumers need more information about the risks posed by mercury contamination in seafood, not less!
Dear Dr. Crawford:
As a seafood consumer, I am very concerned about potentially dangerous levels of mercury in the seafood my family and I eat. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have issued a joint consumer advisory about methylmercury in fish and shellfish. Yet this information is poorly publicized. You do not require the posting of signs at seafood counters and on tuna shelves to warn us about your own advice. This makes it difficult for me and other shoppers to know which fish are better options to serve my family.
In fact, I was appalled to learn that you have actually taken the opposite approach. Instead of encouraging grocery stores and tuna companies to better inform the public about the joint FDA/EPA warning, the FDA is now working to prevent the state of California from using its right to know law to educate its citizens about mercury in seafood.
In your letter to the Attorney General of California, you argue that California should not be allowed to warn its citizens about a known health risk because the FDA has primary authority for informing Americans about the hazards posed by our food and that further communication is not helpful. You also state that the FDA has decided that issuing an advisory is preferable to warning signs and labels, saying "After years of analysis of the methylmercury in tuna issue, the agency remains convinced that the issuance of an advisory remains the preferred route for advising the public." Yet few people know about the advisory, which makes this argument hard to take seriously.
Given the FDA's responsibility to protect Americans and your support of an advisory, the question remains, why has the FDA done such a poor job of educating the public and making the advisory known?
Instead of fighting against the lawsuit filed by the Attorney General of California, the FDA should itself require the posting of signs at seafood counters and on tuna shelves clearly stating which types of fish women and children should avoid and providing useful advice about alternatives.