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Website Launched To Rebut 'Fish Stories' On Misguided 'Mercury Facts'

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WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia -- At the "International Mercury Expo 2010" this weekend at the College of William and Mary, a mercury watchdog group is launching a new website to counter misinformation on 'mercury facts' spread by industry and groups claiming to represent consumers – but in reality often representing special interests in disguise.

The announcement will occur on Saturday, April 24th as part of a presentation by Dr. Edward Groth III in a conference panel session entitled, "Mercury in Seafood: Facts vs. Fiction."

"So-called 'consumer groups' purporting to provide 'mercury facts' are often engaged in doing just the opposite," said Michael Bender, director of the Mercury Policy Project, which created the new information resource.

Media professionals and consumers confronted by scientific assessments of exposure risk on the one hand and vehement fishing industry denials on the other can easily become confused.

Confusion and doubt are, in fact, the intended products of the seafood lobby's public-relations efforts. But most of their claims are fish stories—exaggerations, distortions, or outright fabrications. For people not familiar with the scientific evidence on fish and mercury, sorting out facts from fables can be difficult.

"We are launching our new website – – to counter these misguided 'mercury facts,' and instead provide consumers with the information needed to make informed decisions about exposure risks from mercury," said Bender.

The website provides factual discussions – and deflates endlessly repeated industry "fables" often appearing in the news – on these topics, among others:

  • Benefits and risks of fish consumption
  • Who should be concerned about methylmercury exposure?
  • What is a safe dose of methylmercury?
  • What the FDA "Action Level" on exposure means—and doesn't mean
  • Mercury levels in different fish and shellfish
  • Methylmercury occurs naturally—so what?
  • Are mercury warnings bad for public health?

The website describes the industry's public-relations campaign designed to deny the risks posed by methylmercury, to undercut cautionary advice, harass the news media and confuse consumers, explaining who is carrying out the campaign and how they operate.

Finally, this web resource offers consumers clear, easy to follow information on the mercury levels in most of the seafood choices on the market, so that those who wish to minimize their methylmercury intake while they enjoy the benefits of fish consumption can make informed choices.

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