Worthless natural remedies, especially when they come from “exotic” locations, have always been popular. They’ve also always been big business. Here’s one of the earliest struggles on record—when the richest man in Europe went after a medieval doctor.
For centuries people with maladies of any kind could look forward to a good dose of mercury, as the medical establishment had pretty much concluded that shiny things were good for people. This shipwreck made them think again.
Brief exposure to a limited amount of ethyl mercury (the silver stuff most people know) is usually fine. You have to stay around a lot of it in a non-ventilated space, like miners or hatmakers (‘mad hatters’) used to do, before the vapor becomes a problem.
Methyl mercury, on the other hand, is basically armageddon. We learned about that thanks to the many human sacrifices in Minimata, Japan; the story on that event would be graphic enough that it would probably need a lot of warnings for the reader.
Methyl mercury shows up in coal emissions and certain industrial processes. It usually exits a smoke stack in very small amounts and spreads evenly around the environment. Normally that would be fine… Except that when methyl mercury meets something biological, it sticks. By weight most things are plants, so right off the bat it mostly sticks to plants. When things eat those plants they mostly digest and excrete the plant bits, but the mercury stays. So herbivores keep all the methyl merury from all the plants they ate. That still adds up to not that much mercury. But then something eats the herbivores and it keeps the mercury from all the herbivores it eats. Two steps of concentration (‘bioaccumulation’) starts adding up to real numbers.
That still does not pose much of a problem on land. Not many things eat carnivores that eat land herbivores, so the mercury only concentrates by one or two steps. But the sea has a lot of trophic levels, so you can have four or five steps of bioaccumulation. That is why kids should stay the hell away from top predators like tuna.
Science for solving problems that science created 😉
Mercury in water can damage food and water supplies and in the worst cases even kill. Now, a team of Australian researchers has stumbled across a material made from industrial waste and orange peel that can suck the metal right out of H20.
Looks like Tropicana and other juice companies can start selling off their peels if they haven’t turned them into marmalade. But there’s rumor that orange peels and pulp are being fed to cattle and chickens to reduce salmonella infections…
Water hyacinth, a weed in just about every water way, also removes mercury and other heavy metals from the water passing through it. The question then is how do you dispose of the metal laden water hyacinth?
So how do you dispose of these freaky red diaphragms once they are contaminated? Guess we need to make more thermometers?
If tuna sandwiches are your go-to choice for school lunches, you may be putting your child at risk for ingesting too much mercury, a toxin that can damage the brain and nervous system. And knowing how much tuna is too much is more important than ever, given recent evidence indicating that mercury levels in tuna are on the rise.
There wasn’t much to be done about syphilis for most of its history. It was a horrible, slow way to die and the only way to ward off the most acute attacks was mercury—until a dye and a poison provided the inspiration for an effective treatment.
It’s well-known that certain substances like asbestos cause cancer. Now, new research shows that combined effects of chemicals not thought to be carcinogenic on their own may be a significant cause of the deadly disease.
Urban farmers who have their soil tested for heavy metals and other contaminants can get a nasty shock when they realize what would be coursing through the food they grow on their land. Establish an innocent little vegetable patch and you’ll be serving your family a salad full of fresh lead.
Happily, contaminated soil doesn’t mean farming is out of the question. A relatively small investment in compost and new topsoil can mean a relatively large drop in contaminants. Some urban farmers put in raised beds that keep the plants they intend to eat out of contact with the soil. And then there’s another solution: phytoremediation.
To find out which species are in the most danger, we spoke with Reid Bogert, sustainability coordinator at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, who in addition to scaring us skate (zing!), offered some tasty alternatives. Read on to learn more about which salmon is safe, which seafood certifications to look for, and why grouper are basically screwed.
As part of a sweeping review of nutrition recommendations, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recently reiterated the current seafood guidelines: Americans should eat a wide variety of seafood. The report also acknowledges the risk of mercury exposure from certain kinds of seafoods, and notes that women who are pregnant, nursing or may become pregnant should avoid certain kinds — tilefish, shark, swordfish and king mackerel — because of their high mercury content.
The panel withheld a recommendation about tuna, second only to shrimp in popularity in the United States. Current guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency warn pregnant and nursing women to limit tuna consumption to six ounces per week.
From reading the article, it does seem like a promotion for tuna/seafood. Flaxseeds and walnuts are a far better source, and have a better shelf life. Iodine? That’s what in common table salt, for sake of the fact that most diets are iodine deficient. Vitamin B12 is the most difficult to source of the B vitamins, depending on your diet (IE vegan).
Holding a body close to you, it’s easy to appreciate the warmth a human body can generate.
Humans are “warm-blooded” animals. We’re able to effectively maintain a stable internal temperature, even on cold mornings or hot afternoons. This thermo-regulation is a dynamic process that balances heat generation (through metabolism and muscle activity) and heat loss to the environment, in order to maintain core temperatures.