by Marion Nestle
Oct 31 2007

Toxins in the environment: USA Today series

I’m always surprised when people criticize the shallowness of USA Today when its reporters consistently write in-depth investigative reports that other newspapers ignore. This week, the paper is doing a series of reports on environmental toxins–lead, methylmercury, and endocrine disruptors. The one on the relationship of coal burning power plants to methylmercury in fish is particularly relevant to food issues (and is the subject of a chapter in What to Eat).

  • I found the information regarding fish in your book pretty disturbing. I didn’t know that pollution was such a huge problem that in many states it isn’t recommended for anyone to consume fish from the rivers, streams, or lakes.
    From the standard news media and the industry, there is the common perception that salmon is one of the healthiest meats you can eat. Yikes! Most salmon is farmed and likely to have methyl- mercury, dioxins, PCBs, pesticides and various other chemicals that have been added to the fish either purposely or with little concern by the fish farmers.
    When you go to buy a car you look for something safe and made with attention to quality. Do the car manufacturers only car because the people care?

    Does this mean people think that salmon, or other fish or food is a commidity and is always of the same quality?
    Are people not concerned with these contaminants that are in high levels in many fish, or are they just not aware of this problem?