Piven Hits Bottom, Keeps Digging

Jeremy Piven, is back in the headlines this morning thanks to a piece in People where he tells correspondent Nicholas White that he’s been “fish-free’ for 10 months now. You’ll recall that at the end of last year that Piven abruptly pulled out of a Broadway production of Speed the Plow after complaining that he was suffering from a variety of maladies brought on by mercury poisoning that was caused by a diet that included too much fish. After months worth of public ridicule for his ludicrous excuse to play hooky, you’d figure that Piven might have had enough, but there are just some people who insist they need to keep on digging even after they’ve hit the bottom. Sticking his head above water at a party celebrating the Lakers NBA championship, Piven went back to his fish-bashing ways:

Piven blamed his fatigue on his then-six times the normal blood-level of mercury.

Once again, even if Piven’s blood-level of mercury had been six times greater than normal, he’d still be below the minimum amount of concern as the EPA reference dose has a built-in safety factor of 10.

“By the way, for the record, it’s the not the fish’s fault,” Piven says. “It’s a man-made problem. It’s all the mercury being dumped. Women shouldn’t eat tuna, especially when you’re pregnant.”

Wrong again, as Piven falls for a common activist applause line. The vast majority of the trace amounts of methylmercury found in seafood is attributable to natural causes, not pollution from power plants and other industrial facilities. Further, tuna is not one of the four fish the FDA recommends women who are or may become pregnant, nursing moms, and young children avoid. The FDA guidance recommends pregnant women avoid only four species during pregnancy: shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel. As it stands today, pregnant women are eating less than 2 ounces of seafood weekly versus the 12 ounces recommended for optimum fetal brain and eye development. Research shows missing out on omega-3s and other nutrients in fish is a bigger risk to brain development than trace amounts of mercury, so Piven’s advice is actually harming, not helping, women and their unborn children. Not that Piven really cares, as the only thing he really seems to be concerned about is salvaging his flagging reputation.