Study Into High Mercury Levels In Fish. thefishsite.com. December 22, 2011. The Fisheries Commission has requested the allocation of resources in order to complete a study on heavy metals in fish. This was announced by the chairman of the Committee on Fisheries, Senator Antonio Horvath, following a report by the Institute of Public Health, which indicated the presence of pollutants in albacore and tuna. The report revealed the presence of mercury, above the statutory maximum, in 30 per cent of albacore samples and in 2.3 per cent of the tuna, Mr Horvath said.Mr Horvath explained that the idea of the meeting was "to address the issue of heavy metals in seafood products … and thus obtain where pollution comes from."
He also said that there are suspicions that the heavy metals may have
come from coal mining operations, as on the island of Riesco.
Read also: Pregnant women will be advised to restrict tuna consumption. By Analia Murias. fis.com. December 19, 2011.The Public Health Institute (ISP) evaluates the possibility of pushing legislation to restrict the consumption of tuna and of albacore for pregnant women under 12 weeks’ gestation due to the high mercury content found in these products.
The announcement of ISP director, Maria Teresa Valenzuela, comes after the organization Oceana — citing the Transparency Act — shared a report issued in July 2010 by the Ministry of Health (Minsal), which mentioned the presence of this toxin in worrying levels.
At that time, the Ministry identified the presence of mercury above the standard allowed in some seafood but did not spread the data among the population of Chile.
The ISP also seeks to intensify the monitoring of the public health network at the national level in order to report on products that are produced in the country.
The official denied that there is an "interest in withholding information," reported radio ADN.
"It is not suitable to warn people not to eat fish because albacore and tuna are not widely consumed by our population, since they are quite expensive," he pointed out.
"How much albacore and tuna does our population consume? Very little. It is unusual for our population to consume albacore more than once a week, since the consumption of this fish is restricted because of its high price. So there is no risk, the consumption of such fish is not a risk to the population," Valenzuela continued.
In 2010, the Minsal inspected 67 samples of fish — 54 of tuna, 2 of cod and 11 of albacore — fresh, frozen and mostly canned fish.
The analysis of these samples revealed that 30 per cent of the refrigerated or frozen albacore investigated had over the permitted level of mercury and that 2.3 per cent of canned tuna also contained this toxin.
Of the total samples, only 9 per cent were of Chilean origin: from San Antonio, Valparaíso and Talcahuano while the rest came mainly from Ecuador, China, Thailand, Brazil, Spain, Colombia and Vietnam.
Valenzuela added: "We’re going to totally undertake the responsibility of releasing a recommendation, a rule for pregnant women, who are the ones that may be at a greater risk of immune damage, of the affected development of the embryo and fetus, and for that reason we will work on the regulation for pregnant women and for children who are under 30 months of age," the newspaper El Mercurio reported.