U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works
Majority Fact of the Day
Fishy Scare Tactics from Liberal Special Interests

Chris Christensen, a writer for the Oregonian writes, “It's unfortunate that this little can of gastronomic heaven is causing such confusion these days. Though mercury levels in all canned tuna are well below the Food and Drug Administration's safety limits, fear of poisoning -- from ingesting too much of it -- has some pregnant women, and parents of young children, wondering whether to scratch it off their menus entirely. And that's too bad.”

The financially loaded liberal special interest group Moveon.org, the Sierra Club and many other liberal special interest groups well known for their “Anyone but Bush” smear campaign are reaching deep into their bag of dirty tricks to defeat President Bush this fall.

Their claim this time? President Bush is poisoning pregnant women and their unborn child with mercury found in fish.

FACT:

This message is a disservice and irresponsible because it encourages limiting the publics fish consumption. The health benefits are too well established to forgive any political group attempting to scare the public into abandoning fish consumption, but especially true for pregnant women and their unborn child. These lies used for political gain significantly hurt those they allege to help.

What health benefits make fish so great? Omega-3 fatty acids.

Katherine Tallmadge a Washington nutritionist and author of "Diet Simple" (Lifeline Press, 2002) discusses the benefits of Omega-3fatty acids, writes in a Washington Post article:

"Omega-3s favorably affect a number of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and at the top of the list is reducing the risk of sudden death from heart attack," says Penny Kris-Etherton, a nutrition professor at Pennsylvania State University.

“Study after study has confirmed that omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat found primarily in fish, have a potent and positive effect on heart disease patients. Omega-3s prevent irregular heart beat, reduce plaque inside artery walls and decrease blood clotting, triglycerides (blood fat), blood pressure and inflammation.”

“But the healing powers of omega-3s don't stop there. Research suggests they may reduce the risk of diabetes, reduce insulin resistance in people with diabetes, enhance bone density and inhibit proliferation of cancer cells in the breast, prostate and colon and improve skin condition by curbing psoriasis. Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease seem to improve with more omega-3s. In infants, it improves cognition and visual acuity. And emerging research indicates omega-3s may boost levels of the brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine, decreasing depression and violent behavior.”

As for the pregnant and nursing mothers, Joyce Nettleton in the Christensen Washington Post article, who has a doctorate in nutrition from Harvard School of Public Health and a consulting practice in Denver called ScienceVoice, writes, “strongly recommends that pregnant and nursing women eat at least two meals (12 ounces), of fatty fish, such as troll-caught albacore, per week, to obtain the omega-3s”.

The EPA and FDA echoed the importance of seafood in maintaining a healthy diet in a recent advisory on March 19, 2004:

“Fish and shellfish are an important part of a healthy diet. Fish and shellfish contain high-quality protein and other essential nutrients, are low in saturated fat, and contain omega-3 fatty acids. A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fish and shellfish can contribute to heart health and children's proper growth and development. So, women and young children in particular should include fish or shellfish in their diets due to the many nutritional benefits.”

While mercury has existed in fish for millennia and U.S. man-made contributions account for only a small portion of global emissions, President Bush is going forward, for the first time in our nation’s history, to establish new EPA procedures to significantly reduce mercury. Responsible and well thought out action makes more sense than irresponsible rhetoric that threatens public health.