Press Release

Got Scare Tactics? Mercury Fear Mongers Find Nothing But Safe Sushi

Chicago – Today, the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom criticized the Sea Turtle Restoration Project’s “Got Mercury” campaign and Environment Illinois for scaring Chicagoans about harmless levels of mercury in 20 pieces of tuna sushi collected from Windy City restaurants. The highest mercury level measured in these fish samples was barely 1.5 parts per million, or less than one-sixth of what the Food and Drug Administration calls “the lowest levels associated with adverse effects” to human health.

The following is the statement of Center for Consumer Freedom Director of Research David Martosko. Mr. Martosko is available to speak with reporters.

“None of the sushi tested by the ‘Got Mercury’ campaign or Environment Illinois poses a threat to the public. The FDA’s Action Level is the only appropriate yardstick for judging mercury levels in U.S. commercial ocean fish. And this regulatory level includes a ten-fold safety cushion, which the groups responsible for today’s scare campaign neglected to mention.

“In addition to trace levels of mercury—which have always been present in fish—tuna is uniformly rich in selenium. Nearly 300 scientific studies have demonstrated that this essential element protects against mercury exposure. Any group carping about mercury in fish without also talking about selenium is hiding half the story.

“Issuing warnings about perfectly safe fish makes no sense. Fish is still a health food. There have been no scientifically documented cases of mercury poisoning from fish consumption since the 1950s and 1960s, and those cases resulted from massive industrial spills in Japan.

“Environmental groups that want to scare the public about mercury should be asked to point to recent, scientifically documented cases of human harm. If they can’t produce any, the discussion should be over. And Chicagoans should be allowed to eat their sushi in peace.”

To learn more about the mercury scare campaigns, visit

Founded in 1996, the Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices. For more information, visit


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