Just when you though it was safe to eat fish

Although eating fish is generally considered healthy, the high levels of mercury can cause damage to the nervous system and liver functions.

By LEE GOLAN/ NO CAMELS
May 19, 2011 10:16
1 minute read.
fish dish

Fish dish 311. (photo credit: MCT)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Lee Golan writes for No Camels.

High levels of mercury in fish has been a concern for many years now. While eating fish is considered healthy, the effects of mercury – a metal which accumulates in the body – are not and can include damage to the nervous system and liver functions.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Yet the exact cause for high levels of mercury in fish are still unclear. For years scientists thought the mercury could come from fish swimming in water near industrial plants. But a  new research by Professor Menahem Luria from the Institute of Earth Science in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and in cooperation with the University of Nevada tells a different story. According to them, the mercury polluting the water actually comes from the air, through coal burning power stations, when large amounts of mercury are released into the atmosphere.

“Mercury, in its elementary form is not dangerous,” Luria, whose research was published in Nature Geoscience Journal, told Israel’s NRG. ”The problem begins when it merges with another chemical, then it becomes highly toxic. In the air above the water concentrations there are high concentration of bromine compounds, when a reaction is created between the mercury and the bromine, a heavy compound is formed which sinks  into the water and the fish drink it,” Luria previously explained.

The research was conducted in the Dead Sea area, where concentrations of bromine are about 200 times higher than elsewhere.“The mercury accumulates in the fishes’ tissue and from there it is passed on to us. The older the fish is, the higher the chances are that it accumulated large quantities of mercury in its body.” That is why health authorities recommend limiting intake of older fish, like Tuna.

No Camels - Local solutions to global problems

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Lab
August 31, 2014
Weizmann scientists bring nature back to artificially selected lab mice

By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH