about mercury

From: Erich Hoyt (EHoyt@compuserve.com)
Date: Sun Feb 17 2002 - 18:41:21 EST

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Message text written by "miyuki mano"


I am Japanese woman. I am interested in mecury poisoned
whale. I cannot find the information about it in Japan.
If you know a good book about it, could you please
some information?

Thank you .

Miyuki Mano


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Dear Miyuki Mano san

There is a very good website you should check. It is run by Safety First,
a Japanese consumer protection group that works on the issue of food
safety, including issues about whale meat. Their details are at:

In general I can tell you that dolphins and other toothed whales are able
to carry large amounts of mercury in their tissues -- amounts that would
kill cattle or other land animals for example. This is thought to be
because dolphins have been exposed to environmental mercury in the sea over
millennia and have adapted to higher levels than land animals.

However, although the mercury is not life threatening to the dolphins, this
of course does not mean that it is safe for humans that eat dolphin meat.

Still, according to Dr. Nobuyuki Miyazaki, noted Japanese marine biologist
with the Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, there are few good
studies of the risk to humans from consuming whale meat since it is
difficult to determine the cause of a serious problem unless many people
from the same restricted area eat a lot of same food (such as what happened
with Minamata disease).

Dr. Miyazaki wrote a book called "Terrible Sea Pollution - marine mammals
that have been affected by toxins" (1992). I don't know the Japanese title,
but I hope you can find it. Of course he is very concerned about the
threats to marine mammals everywhere from organochlorine compounds. You may
contact him at miyazaki@wakame.ori.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Good luck in your further search and work...

Erich Hoyt

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