Bringing Purity Back Into The Seafood Industry


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Seafood is packed full of important nutrients, proteins, vitamins and omega-3s. But lurking in our oceans is a hidden poison that is corrupting the purity of the world’s seafood supply — mercury.

While mercury has been in the environment since the planet was first formed, industrialization has caused the levels to rise. Inorganic mercury enters our environment both naturally through volcanic activity and forest fires and through industrial pollution. Emissions from coal-fired power plants are the most significant contributor. And, the annual manmade mercury contribution grows each year with a compounding effect. Additionally, global warming increases the frequency and magnitude of forest fires, which in turn increases the mercury load on our planet. A Michigan University study revealed that mercury levels in Yellowfin tuna in the Pacific Ocean have increased by 3.8% per year between 1998 and 2008 and predicts that if the mercury pollution continues at current levels, the mercury levels will double in our oceans by 2050.

Mercury in tuna is an issue for consumers because the toxic form of mercury, methylmercury, can be found at higher levels in tuna than other types of seafood. Mercury in its elemental or inorganic form (Hg) makes its way into our lakes and oceans and reacts to create methylmercury (MeHg or MMHg). This organic mercury compound is most commonly found in marine life, and it binds with plant life. Through bio-magnification, in which small fish eat the methylmercury laden planet life, bigger fish eat the smaller fish and so on, the methylmercury concentrations, on average, are higher the farther up the food chain one goes. So on average swordfish have higher mercury concentrations than tuna and tuna have higher concentrations than mussels.

It is important to note that one’s body can process trace amounts of methylmercury, like other toxins, without adverse effects. However, chronic exposure to doses of methylmercury from seafood beyond the body’s ability to process it can cause serious problems. Chronic elevated mercury exposure in adults impacts the cognitive, motor, and sensory functions. Effects on infants and children can be more severe due to their developing nervous symptoms and their smaller body masses. According to the EPA, children exposed to methylmercury while they are in the womb can have irreversible impacts to their cognitive thinking, memory, attention, language, fine-motor skills and visual spatial skills.

As the issue of high methylmercury levels in seafood has become common knowledge over the years, many people’s instinct has been to eliminate larger fish, like tuna, from their diets altogether. The problem is that tuna is also a valuable source of nutrients such as vitamins, protein and omega-3s, so eliminating tuna completely from a diet is disadvantageous.  

Another obstacle is the variance of mercury levels between canned tuna brands and within the brands themselves. Brands like American Tuna and Wild Planet try to work around the methylmercury issue by targeting younger, smaller fish in their catches. But, tuna are a highly migratory, predatory species so their diets can vary due to differences in prey and geographic location. Since mercury accumulates in seafood due to bio-magnification, the age of a tuna can have an effect on the mercury content as well. But age is not a reliable factor in determining mercury levels because there is no way to accurately monitor what a specific tuna is eating. If a younger tuna continuously eats prey with higher mercury concentrations than an older tuna with a different diet, the younger, smaller tuna can have higher mercury concentrations than the larger tuna.  

There are standards for testing seafood, including tuna, for mercury, which are set by the FDA in the U.S. and by other regulatory bodies in other countries around world. The FDA sets a standard of 1.000 parts per million (ppm), which has been exceeded by canned tuna in multiple studies conducted by universities and regulatory bodies. Other countries such as Canada and most participating countries in the EU have a standard that is half of the FDA’s, at 0.500 ppm. However, these standards are rarely enforced because these regulatory bodies do not have the resources to check or verify every brand of tuna and there is no mandatory testing to ensure brands are meeting these standards.

The only way to truly know the mercury level in a tuna is to test each and every tuna.

Sean Wittenberg and Bryan Boches are co-founders of SafeCatch, the first and only canned tuna brand that tests every fish for mercury, and the only brand to meet Consumer Reports “Low Mercury” criteria and mercury levels of the Environmental Working Group’s “Best Choice” standard. Visit www.safecatch.com for more information.

See also:
CNN Documentary Takes A Peek Behind The Food Industry Curtain
Weekly Musings: Oceans of Love

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April 23, 2018

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April 2018

Usui Holy Fire II Reiki I Prerequisite: a desire to learn Reiki Study includes the history of Reiki, the Reiki principles, the hand positions used to give Reiki to yourself and to others,...

Cost: $175 (pre-registration required)

Where:
The Studio at One Earth
191 Emery Mills Road
Shapleigh, ME  04076
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Sponsor: The Studio at One Earth
Telephone: 207-636-2500
Contact Name: The Studio at One Earth
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Sunday yoga is back! Hatha Yoga with meditation to get you ready to tackle your spring intentions. Sign up for series or drop in. 

Cost: $75/5 classes; drop in $17.00

Where:
Dragonfly Wellness Center
176 Jackson Rd
Devens, MA
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Sponsor: Dragonfly Wellness Center
Telephone: 978-227-8297
Contact Name: Anita Perry
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Have you done yoga before but feel a little rusty? Haven't been on your mat in a while? Yoga Basics is a great place to begin again. Do you feel you need motivation to jump-start your...

Cost: $60

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
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Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Telephone: 603-969-8968
Contact Name: Brian Serven
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This workshop is part of the At the Heart of the Matter: a series of workshops about all things HEART. How do we connect with our hearts? And what keeps us from staying connected? In this...

Cost: $35

Where:
Newtonville, MA


Telephone: 617-913-0683
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Feel the bliss of opening your spine, while being totally supported and meticulously aligned. Great for sciatica and low back pain! Classes also held Saturday mornings.

Cost: $18 drop in

Where:
Bliss Through Yoga
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
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Sponsor: Bliss Through Yoga
Telephone: 508-331-3564
Contact Name: Janice
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As springtime rolls around, many of us get out our trash bags, buckets, and boxes in order to clean out and tidy up our homes and offices. Physically cleaning our spaces is great and all, but did...

Cost: Free

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WeWork
31 St. James Ave
Boston, MA  02116
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Sponsor: The Kabbalah Center
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Ayurvedic practitioner. Presenting a 28-day program designed to initiate and maximize detoxification and nourishment of your body, mind and soul, inspiring results that can last a lifetime. For...

Where:
Concord, MA


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This workshop is part of the At the Heart of the Matter: a series of workshops about all things HEART. What does it mean to be deeply touched inside? To feel something deeply? To be connected?...

Cost: $35

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Newtonville, MA


Telephone: 617-913-0683
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Cost: $40

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
90 Main Street
Andover, MA  01835
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Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
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YogaLife studio would like to offer this opportunity to slow it down, step back, notice your breath and sit quietly in community. Join us Thursdays from 5:40-6:30 PM. No Yoga...

Cost: Free

Where:
YogaLife Institute
6 Chestnut Street
Suite A
Exeter, MA  03833
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Telephone: 603-969-8968
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Ann Barker will be seeing clients on Friday, April 27th and Saturday, April 28th at Balance Bethlehem. Call to book your appointment today! This non-invasive screening utilizes a thermal...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Balance Bethlehem
2087 Main Street
Bethlehem, NH  03574
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Sponsor: Ann Barker
Telephone: 603-897-9645
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Friday, April 27 - Sunday, April 29, 2018 April Ropes and Ritu Kapur Sohum’s 3rd Annual Retreat will be offered in Beautiful Berkshires, The Spirit Fire Meditative Retreat Center in...

Cost: $385

Where:
Spirit Fire Retreat Center
407 W. Leyden Road
Leyden, MA  01337
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Sponsor: www.SOHUM.org
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
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April 27 - 29, 2018 What if there were 5 love languages in the bedroom…and you had a secret decoder ring? Imagine the erotic satisfaction you could unlock…for yourself and for...

Cost: $1097*/couple; Early bird $997* by Feb 14, 2018

Where:
Angel’s Rest Retreat Center
63 North County Road
Leyden, MA  01301
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Sponsor: Conscious Intimacy
Telephone: 415-244-1652
Contact Name: Brynn Bishop
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Ann Barker will be seeing clients on Friday, April 27th and Saturday, April 28th at Balance Bethlehem. Call to book your appointment today! This non-invasive screening utilizes a thermal...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Balance Bethlehem
2087 Main Street
Bethlehem, NH  03574
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Sponsor: Ann Barker
Telephone: 603-897-9645
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India Discovery Center is pleased to announce the next seminar in the “Let us explore the Cultural History of India.” The fourth event entitled “Seminar on the Golden Period,...

Cost: $20

Where:
Bemis Hall
15 Bedford Road
Lincoln, MA  01773
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Sponsor: India Discovery Center
Telephone: 781-259-0029
Contact Name: Bijoy Misra
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World Qigong Taichi Day is celebrated globally, and at Eastover, it is a day of free presentations, demonstrations and mini-classes offered by nationally recognized leaders in Taichi, Qigong,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Eastover Estate & Retreat Center
430 East Street
Lenox, MA  01240
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Sponsor: Eastover Estate & Retreat Center
Telephone: 866-264-5139
Contact Name: Yingxing Wang
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April 28 - 29, 2018 Led by Marconics Teacher Practitioners:  Josh Brotherton and Nadine Muhammad To register:  From US:  Tel: 774-987-9449 Email: yourhealinglight@gmail.com...

Cost: $450

Where:
Suffield Massage Therapy and Wellness Center
230 Mountain Rd
Suffield, CT  06078
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Sponsor: Marconics
Telephone: 774-987-9449
Contact Name: Josh Brotherton
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With award winning author Nancy Smith. Starts April 28th, 7-month certification program about Akashic records. One Saturday a month, 10am - 4pm. womenofwisdominc.com

Cost: $860

Where:
Women of Wisdom
North Easton, MA


Telephone: 508-230-3860
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Cost: Free

Where:
Elm Park
Russell St
Worcester, MA  01609
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Sponsor: Kung Fu & Tai Chi Academy of New England
Telephone: (774) 321-6611
Contact Name: Sifu Gary
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Cost: Free admission

Where:
Taunton V.F.W.
82 Ingell Street
Taunton, MA  02780


Sponsor: The Enchanted Forest Taunton
Telephone: 774-208-6195
Contact Name: Brother Granite
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