Mercury in rice tops fish in Chinese diet
Thursday 16 September 2010
A new article published in the September edition of the journal
Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) highlighted that rice, not fish, in the Guizhou province of China contains high levels of the neurotoxin methylmercury.
Eating fish is normally associated with mercury exposure or poisoning however this finding calls for greater attention to agriculture and environmental factors especially in mercury ore-rich areas.
"It is unknown whether methylmercury limits, which are based on fish consumption, provide adequate protection for a population with rice-based exposure because rice lacks the micronutrients found in fish that might partly offset neurotoxicity," noted EHP reviewer Julia Barrett.
However, "given that heavy inorganic mercury pollution exists in other rice-growing regions of Asia, further investigation is critical to assess exposure and correlate it with human biomonitoring (especially for pregnant women) and potential health effects."
Mercury poisoning is difficult to diagnose as it causes other ailments that rarely lead back to it. Health advice sites like Buzzle and MedicineNet offer signs to look for including insomnia, muscle weakness, shakes, colon inflammation, mood swings, memory loss and tinnitus.
EHP article, "Rice Is a Significant Source of Methylmercury: Research in China Assesses Exposures": http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.118-a398a
Full original study, "In Inland China, Rice, Rather than Fish, Is the Major Pathway for Methylmercury Exposure": http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.1001915
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