Stop Children From Being Overexposed to Mercury in Schools

tuna

Target: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s School Lunch Program

Goal: Stop schools from purchasing canned tuna to reduce the risk of mercury poisoning

Mercury is widely known to be a substance of extreme toxicity to humans, with the nervous system particularly sensitive. In particular, research shows that people who frequently eat tuna are exposed to over 40 times the safe limit of mercury as defined by federal standards – a standard which even experts call “out of date”. Canned tuna is the source of one-third of all mercury exposure and contains the largest amount of mercury in the American diet. Moreover, any tuna produced in Latin America contains a much higher mercury content than any other kind and should be avoided. White tuna, or Albacore, is especially toxic containing three times the mercury level that is found in light tuna. It is this kind of tuna which is most often found served in school lunches.

One in every six seafood lunches is canned tuna, and children in the United States eat twice as much tuna as any other fish. Children are also more susceptible to the effects of mercury poisoning than adults, and those who get poisoning are shown to more frequently develop issues with their nervous systems that affect their ability to learn. Overconsumption of mercury can also cause digestive system disorders and kidney damage. Experts advise parents not to let their children eat tuna every day, especially of the albacore variety, and that children under 55 pounds should not be allowed to have more than one serving of tuna per month. Any other weight should still not consume more than two per month.

More important are situations in which parents are not around to control what their children consume – namely at school. Schools should take steps to ensure the safety of their students by eliminating the purchase of canned tuna, first and foremost. Other, far safer seafoods options can and should be offered, such as salmon. Demand that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s School Lunch Program put the health of all children first.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear U.S. Department of Agriculture’s School Lunch Program,

Children in the United States eat twice as much tuna as any other fish, and one in every six seafood lunches is canned tuna. This is an issue, as frequent tuna eaters consume 40 times the safe amount of mercury with canned tuna being the largest source of the toxic substance in the American diet.

This excessive intake of tuna affects children’s nervous systems and seriously damages their ability to learn, among a host of other sicknesses that result from mercury poisoning. It is for these reasons that tuna must be eliminated from school lunches altogether. With child tuna consumption reaching safe limits at two servings per month, there is no justification for knowingly intoxicating children with it at school. Other seafood options are available which offer the same amount of nutrition without the harmful substances.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: capl@washjeff.edu

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One Comment

  1. Kids are more vulnerable to all toxic compounds and substances because their bodies cannot eliminate them as efficiently as adults can.

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