GotMercury.org recently released a report claiming that “nearly one-third of the fish purchased at [California] grocery stores contains levels of mercury the United States has deemed unsafe for consumption and more than half of the retailers did not post mercury advisory signs.” The authors based their findings on 98 samples of swordfish, halibut, salmon, and tuna from 41 grocery stores and sushi restaurants across the state, alleging that all samples “contained measurable levels of mercury, most above 0.5 parts per million (ppm) methylmercury – the upper threshold set by the state of California as acceptable for human consumption in non-commercial fish caught in inland waters.”

GotMercury.org also reported that mercury levels (i) averaged 1.47 ppm in swordfish, “well above the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) mercury action level of 1 ppm”; (ii) averaged 0.407 ppm in yellowfin tuna; and (iii) averaged 0.721 ppm in sushi tuna, “a level that could be harmful to pregnant women and children.” The organization is urging FDA to revise its mercury action level to 0.5 ppm, adding that California should pursue stricter mercury disclosure laws. “Failure to initiate a state wide requirement to post mercury advisory signs at places where fish is sold is keeping the public, especially women and children, at risk for dire health consequences resulting from mercury exposure,” concluded the report.

Meanwhile, the National Fisheries Institute has emphasized the group’s connection to the Turtle Island Restoration Network, an environmental organization. “They want to cut down on seafood consumption so the sea turtles don’t end up as bycatch,” an institute spokesperson said. “It’s detrimental to public health and it’s cloaked as helping the public.” See The San Francisco Chronicle, January 18, 2011.