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Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

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  #1  
Old 03-24-2011, 10:50 AM
lagoonguy lagoonguy is offline
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Default Mercury in Fish Harmful?

Frank, do you think we should be careful not to eat too much fish that contains mercury? I've never paid to much attention to the ever-present warnings. Now, a new study published in the NE Journal of Medecine shows there is no cause for alarm.

Health experts have long urged folks to eat more fish to lower heart risks, but some have worried that mercury in certain types of fish like shark and swordfish would offset the benefits. Earlier studies have yielded contradictory results.

The latest government-funded work is the largest to look at this question. Instead of relying on what people said they ate, it measured mercury in their toenails-a standard guage of long-term exposure to the metals from fish consumption.

No differences were seen among those with the highest concentrations of mercury compared to the lowest.

"The average person should eat fish as part of a healthy diet", and not worry about ill-heart effects said Harvard School of Public Health Dr. David Mozaffarian, who led the research publiched in the NE Journal studies - two studies from 174,000 folks.
Associated Press - LosAngeles - 3/24/2012

Bill Hubbard
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Old 03-24-2011, 02:12 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Mercury in Fish Harmful?

No, I don't think we should worry about mercury in fish. I never have nor have I sought to curtail my fish consumption. But keep in mind that I don't know any more about what is good for you than some guy who sleeps under a bridge abuttment. Keep in mind that you are asking a health question of a guy who smoked for 40 years.
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:11 PM
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Default Re: Mercury in Fish Harmful?

I think it is a risk-assessment question. There is some risk associated with eating things with mercury (or perhaps very little, if that study is correct), but you also get health benefits. My understanding was the benefits far outweigh the risks when consuming fish, for the most fish.

For instance, maybe it increases your chance of brain damage from mercury by 1 part in 100. But it might decrease your risk of heart attack by 1 part in 20. Therefore, you should eat it. (I'm making these numbers up, by the way, just to illustrate the point.)
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:17 PM
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Default Re: Mercury in Fish Harmful?

Brain Damage.

That's my excuse... I almost qualified for a Pulitzer until I started eating fish....
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:37 PM
Merlin Merlin is online now
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Default Re: Mercury in Fish Harmful?

Don't eat it! --it will make you brain dead in 30 or 40 years. Of course leaf spinach from Japan will do the same thing and a tall glass of milk. Add some bacon to that and you might last only 20 years.

As my grandmother said long ago: moderation! moderation! She only made it to 93 and my mother is at 97 and going strong so there must be some wise words in that.
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:38 PM
SALMONMEISTER SALMONMEISTER is offline
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Default Re: Mercury in Fish Harmful?

I remember reading years ago about a person who had ingested so much mercury that there were visible traces of it in his (her?) hair. Go to find out they were eating something like three swordfish steaks a day for twenty years. A marine biologist told me that any apex predator is gonna have more toxins in it than a smaller, younger fish. Makes sense...big fish eat small from several links of the food chain...they absorb more from more different sources. Like Merlin's grandma said "moderation, moderation!"
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:18 AM
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Default Re: Mercury in Fish Harmful?

From reading the above, I can tell that nobody is worried about mercury. Even PCBs, a slight but parellel digression, are only suspected of causing cancer. I know severel people who died in the saddle but I don't see no one giving up sex.
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:31 AM
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Default Re: Mercury in Fish Harmful?

I played with liquid mercury as a kid, used to roll it up in my hand etc.

Explains a lot, I suppose!
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:01 PM
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Stan Creighton Stan Creighton is offline
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Default Re: Mercury in Fish Harmful?

[quote=RobS;2350859]I played with liquid mercury as a kid, used to roll it up in my hand etc.quote]

So did I!!

Also had a "pet rock", (asbestos), while I lived in MA, from Quebec or somewhere.......
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Old 03-25-2011, 09:14 PM
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Default Re: Mercury in Fish Harmful?

[quote=VA Gentleman;2350883]
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobS View Post
I played with liquid mercury as a kid, used to roll it up in my hand etc.quote]

So did I!!

Also had a "pet rock", (asbestos), while I lived in MA, from Quebec or somewhere.......
my friend up the street lived in an old farm house... ALL the basement pipes were coated with old, crumbling asbestos insulation.

We used to play down there ALL the time, swinging on the pipes, dusting the "chalk" off our hands etc.

Down the street from us were freight train tracks with a "stream" next to them. I actually drank water out of that stream (this was after playing with the aforementioned mercury).

A pond around the corner wasn't too deep, but we'd skate and play on it until we broke through the ice every year. Then we'd know it wasn't safe any longer.

During the gas rationing I tried to siphon out gas from a friend's car (we were "pooling" our gas to go somewhere)... I missed and got 100% fumes. Thought I was going to die... (probably nearly did).

I think I could go on, if I thought more (with the few remaining brain cells I have)...

I am still amazed I've lived this long. God's grace is the only explanation.
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Old 03-26-2011, 12:29 AM
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Default Re: Mercury in Fish Harmful?

TO ALL on this post. Yeah, it's not a bad idea to use some common sense about what we eat, especially the amount, [that's why I weigh in at 250+ without my six pound boots], but if we all ate like the experts tell us, we'd all be down on our knees grazing on alfalfa in a field, and damned if I'm goin' do that.

MULE. [Mules like good hay and corn, shrimp and Yankee sausage.]
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Old 03-26-2011, 06:33 AM
biggestsquid biggestsquid is offline
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Default Re: Mercury in Fish Harmful?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve C. Sink View Post
TO ALL on this post. Yeah, it's not a bad idea to use some common sense about what we eat, especially the amount, [that's why I weigh in at 250+ without my six pound boots], but if we all ate like the experts tell us, we'd all be down on our knees grazing on alfalfa in a field, and damned if I'm goin' do that.

MULE. [Mules like good hay and corn, shrimp and Yankee sausage.]
Message recieved Mule!!!!
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Old 03-26-2011, 08:29 AM
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Default Re: Mercury in Fish Harmful?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Daignault View Post
From reading the above, I can tell that nobody is worried about mercury. Even PCBs, a slight but parellel digression, are only suspected of causing cancer. I know severel people who died in the saddle but I don't see no one giving up sex.
Yes, Frank. To your point, I'm not worried about Mercury or PCBs. I agree with Mule, however, about eating a balanced diet. I have swung the balance away from most, if not all, fast food however.
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:14 AM
lagoonguy lagoonguy is offline
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Default Re: Mercury in Fish Harmful?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve C. Sink View Post
MULE. [Mules like good hay and corn, shrimp and Yankee sausage.]
Me too Steve, and I just got my first shipment of the year of Grade AAA Amber New Hampshire Maple Syrup
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Old 03-26-2011, 01:48 PM
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Default Re: Mercury in Fish Harmful?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lagoonguy View Post
Me too Steve, and I just got my first shipment of the year of Grade AAA Amber New Hampshire Maple Syrup
At'a boy BILL. Sure glad you're controlling your sugar intake. My shipment of sugar free French apple pies just came in. That Slim Fast stuff doesn't work at all. I've been drinking two big cans of it after every meal and I ain't lost a pound.

MULE.
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