'TOXIC WASTE'

Why bother to set mercury limits that are ignored?

by Boyd Harnell

The following are the results of certified and documented tests of Total Mercury (T-Hg) found in random samples of dolphin meat purchased from supermarkets in Taiji and Shingu, Wakayama Prefecture, in 2006-2008.

The test system used is known as Cold Vapor Atomic Absorption Spectrometry.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry’s safe advisory level for T-Hg is 0.4 ppm (parts per million).

1. Tested sample (11/07/06): Gondou dolphin (pilot whale); T-Hg 1.31 ppm (3.3 times the Japanese government’s advisory level)

2. Tested sample (11/07/06): Gondou dolphin (pilot whale); T-Hg 3.82 ppm (9.55 times the advisory level)

3. Tested sample (12/22/06): Striped dolphin; T-Hg 5.40 ppm (13.5 times the advisory level)

4. Tested sample (2/23/06): Bottlenose dolphin; T-Hg 1.7 ppm (4 times the advisory level)

5. Tested sample (3/02/07): Common dolphin; T-Hg 1.66 ppm (4 times the advisory level)

6. Tested sample ( 3/02/07): Striped dolphin; T-Hg 14.3 ppm (35.75 times the advisory level)

The following are the results of certified and documented tests of Total Mercury and Methylmercury in samples of dolphin meat bought locally by Taiji city councilman Junichiro Yamashita. After receiving results of the tests, Yamashita described the dolphin meat as “toxic waste” and urged his constituents not to consume it on grounds of health.

The health ministry’s safe advisory level for Methylmercury (M-Hg) is 0.3 ppm (parts per million).

7. Tested sample (6/22/07): Gondou dolphin (pilot whale); T-Hg 6.39 ppm (15.97 times the advisory level); M-Hg 3.6 ppm (12 times the advisory level

8. Tested sample (7/17/07): Gondou dolphin (pilot whale); T-Hg 11.9 ppm (29.75 times the advisory level); M-Hg 4.8 ppm (16 times the advisory level)

9. Tested sample (8/02/07): Gondou dolphin (pilot whale); T-Hg 3.84 ppm (9.6 times the advisory level)

10. Tested sample (10/2/07): Gondou dolphin (pilot whale); T-Hg 10.4 ppm (26 times the advisory level)

11. Tested sample (10/12/07): Gondou dolphin (pilot whale); T-Hg 6.94 ppm (7.35 times the advisory level)