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Canned salmon has practically the same ppm of mercury as beef?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 10, 2013 at 8:04 PM

So is the whole mercury thing being overblown or what?

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02220741

http://oceana.org/en/our-work/stop-ocean-pollution/mercury/learn-act/learn-more/canned-tuna-v-canned-salmon

Beef has .5 parts of mercury per hundred million while canned salmon has less than 1 part per hundred million. So like, we're talking peanuts here right? Could one eat either one with impunity (with reference solely to their mercury concentrations)? Or is the mercury in salmon more dangerous, like maybe it's a different form of mercury?

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on July 10, 2013
at 08:45 PM

Yup, I think my math matches with yours. Might want to edit your post though, as it reads "Beef has .5 parts of mercury per hundred MILLION" But to answer the second part of the question, I would definitely say you could eat either without fear of mercury toxicity.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on July 10, 2013
at 08:33 PM

On that note, salmon has at least 1/35th the amount of Mercury as Tuna (canned at least). So does that mean 35 cans for each can of tuna which would mean mercury toxicity at 1400 cans of salmon per week? Lol. I think that's 50 pounds of salmon per day.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on July 10, 2013
at 08:20 PM

.01/1 million = 1*10^-8 , 5/1 billion = 5*10^-9 or .5*10^-8 . So that means that the canned salmon has no more than twice the amount of mercury per unit.

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3 Answers

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1
B72e976b2df9e7f01315830062a5209c

(1365)

on July 10, 2013
at 08:26 PM

One time back when I was attempting to lose weight via SAD I was eating tuna melts on whole-wheat toast for dinner every night. A friend asked if I was worried about Mercury poisining, which I'd never heard of. So I started doing some research.

I spent a few hours online researching the amount of mercury in tuna (a lot more than salmon), absorption rates in healthy adults, and EPA recommendations. Long story short what I found was that in order to exceed the EPA recommended levels of mercury ingestion I'd need to eat 4 cans of tuna a week. Sounds scary, but then the EPA recommended level is one tenth the actual lower limit of harmful mercury levels. So 40 cans of tuna a week for a healthy adult.

tl;dr Yes, most of the mercury stuff floating around is fear mongering.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on July 10, 2013
at 08:33 PM

On that note, salmon has at least 1/35th the amount of Mercury as Tuna (canned at least). So does that mean 35 cans for each can of tuna which would mean mercury toxicity at 1400 cans of salmon per week? Lol. I think that's 50 pounds of salmon per day.

2
00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on July 11, 2013
at 12:54 AM

You should read Chris Kresser's take on the mercury-in-fish issue. The summary is that selenium in fish binds to mercury and carries it out of the body, so eat fish with the best ratio of selenium:mercury. The linked article contains a chart that gives this information.

2
C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

on July 10, 2013
at 08:13 PM

Wait, doesn't the first link say "ppb" or parts per BILLION? That would make the comparison 10ppb for Salmon vs 5ppb for beef. But I don't think salmon was ever considered heavy with mercury, it was tuna, shark, and other high-on-the-food chain fish that were an issue. As far as I'm aware of, no one recommends limiting your consumption of wild salmon...

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on July 10, 2013
at 08:20 PM

.01/1 million = 1*10^-8 , 5/1 billion = 5*10^-9 or .5*10^-8 . So that means that the canned salmon has no more than twice the amount of mercury per unit.

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on July 10, 2013
at 08:45 PM

Yup, I think my math matches with yours. Might want to edit your post though, as it reads "Beef has .5 parts of mercury per hundred MILLION" But to answer the second part of the question, I would definitely say you could eat either without fear of mercury toxicity.

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