Mercury: A natural phenomenon or manmade menace?

Rhetoric:Man-made air pollution and mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants end up in the ocean and taint our supply of commercial seafood.

Reality:Regardless of pollution, commercially caught seafood has always contained trace amounts of organic methylmercury caused by underwater volcanic activity occurring for millennia. According to the FDA, which oversees ocean-caught and commercially farmed seafood, there are no “measurable differences over time in mercury concentrations in commercial fish generally, nor does the FDA database on mercury concentrations in commercial fish reveal a trend toward increasing concentrations.”

Coal fired power plant emissions contain mercury contaminants that can migrate into lakes, streams, and rivers. The EPA, which has jurisdiction over inland waterways and U.S. shorelines, closely monitors mercury levels and advises recreational anglers on which fish species are safe to consume.

Creating false alarms about safe and healthy seafood to advance clean air and water agendas is not only dishonest — it’s dangerous.


Methylmercury in commercial seafood is by and large naturally occurring and not increasing in the United States. Ocean fish is an essential food in Americans’ diets and seafood-deficient Americans who eat less than 3 ounces of fish a week, should be eating 4 times more seafood to realize its heart and brain health benefits.