Last week on QUEST, we took a look at the history of the San Francisco Bay’s most dangerous toxin: mercury. This week, now that the mercury is here in the bay, how is it affecting us? The obvious place to go was the Berkeley Marina, one of the bay’s most popular fishing spots. On the day I visited, halibut season had just begun and, even on a Monday morning, the pier was lined with anglers. Halibut contains high levels of mercury, just like other big SF Bay fish but – as you hear in the piece – you wouldn’t know it from talking to the fishermen out that day.
Of course mercury is a problem in many big fish we eat, not just the ones in the San Francisco Bay. Dr. Jane Hightower is one of the leading local doctors diagnosing various levels of mercury poisoning in her patients – many of whom, as she says, do their fishing at places like Whole Foods. We only had time to use a short piece of that interview in the actual story, but anyone who eats fish will want to hear more from Dr. Hightower. A longer version of that interview – including Dr. Hightower’s surprising views on kid staples like canned tuna fish – is right here.
You may listen to the “Mercury in the Bay – Part 2” Radio report online, as well as find additional links and resources.
Amy Standen is a Reporter for QUEST and Radio News at KQED-FM.