Protecting Grandparents From Mercury

By Laura Michelle Burns, Moms Clean Air Force

If youíre anything like me, you fall into the category of women who are caring for their children and their parents or grandparents. My aunt and my grandmother are both in their 70s. Iím grateful that they are in good health and are active. But I will confess that I worry about them the most when they are up visiting Lake Erie with their friends. It may sound silly, but I worry because they always tell me about the wonderful local, fresh caught fish they had each trip.

Growing up, I spent a lot of my summers visiting Port Clinton and Marblehead on the Lake Erie coast. Even as I type this, I can see myself sitting in a corner booth of a small Ohio diner watching the fishing boats pull up to the dock to sell their morningís catch. I ate a lot of fresh caught fish sandwiches with my aunt and grandmother. I know they taste amazing! But what I know now is that those fish are tainted with mercury. Lake Erie is surrounded by coal-fired plants that spew mercury into our air. Mercury in the air doesnít stay in one place, it is absorbed into the water†droplets†in the air and circulated through the clouds, and eventually rains down into our lake.

We know what mercury does our our children. Today though, Iíd like to highlight what mercury does to our childrenís grandparents. Since mercury is a neurotoxin, it functions in the degradation of the brain. A childís brain is impacted by mercury in a way that can hinder the child from reaching their full potential. An adultís brain has already developed and is now used to maintain the information necessary for everyday life and beyond.

6 Facts About Mercury:

  • Mercury can have an effect on the Central Nervous System, specifically the brain, by concentrating in the cerebral spinal fluid.
  • It can also inhibit the microtubules in the brain which then reduce the nervesí function and their communication.
  • Our brains rely on the communication between the nerves to do things like remembering what it felt like to hold our baby for the first time, or how to sing ďThe Itsy Bitsy Spider.Ē
  • As we age and these memories arenít so recent, we rely more and more on our brains to retain them.
  • Alzheimerís disease was reported to affect an estimated 5.4 million Americans in 2011.
  • Research has shown that mercury can be a causal factor in Alzheimerís diseaseÖeven more so than the concerns of thimerosal being a leading factor in autism!

Of course, I want my family to be able to enjoy their summer visiting Lake Erie. I want them to eat and be as carefree as the day allows. But I also donít want to worry that their memories could be affected by their unwitting†consumption†of mercury. This summer, as excited as I am to share my days with family, Iíll be encouraging them to skip the fish and order a burger instead. I know that memories can fade in time, but Iíd hate to hurry it along with a side of mercury to accompany their catch of the day!



Mercury: the Culprit of Mysterious Health Problems
An Interview with Dr. Philip Landigan, Mercury Expert
New Mercury Warning for Tuna


Sue H.
Sue H5 years ago

It would have been helpful to know how long mercury from ingested fish actually stays in the body. ? Otherwise, good article.

Terry Vanderbush
Terry V5 years ago


Pinke A.
Pinke A5 years ago

Thanks for the important info!

Joan Mcallister
5 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Carrie E.
Carrie E.5 years ago

Mercury-containing vaccines are even worse in some ways- injecting rather than ingesting bypasses some of the body's natural defenses and detox mechanisms. Flu shots especially are pushed on the elderly like crack cocaine and contain a full complement of mercury.

Christine C.
Chandra C5 years ago

Good info

Judith H.
Judith H5 years ago


Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago


Sandi C.
Sandi C5 years ago

wouldn't it depend on where the fish came from and how much or often you eat it!

jasna gonda
jasna gonda5 years ago

I think a few servings of fish consumed on a yearly vacation can hardly be enough to destroy the brain of a healthy grandmother. That mercury "can be a causal factor of Alzheimer" but only if it is consumed over longer periods and in greater quantities. Just let your aunt and grandmother enjoy what years they have left. If they have no signs of Alzheimer's now, that little mercury is not going to matter.