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E-M:/ FW: TFOE Hg-WG: mercury found in some cicadas (fwd)

Enviro-Mich message from "Link, Terry" <link@mail.lib.msu.edu>

Have we seen/heard any cicadas in Michigan yet? Usually  the southern edge of the state receives some of these critters, but I've not heard any reports yet.

Terry Link, Director
Office of Campus Sustainability
Michigan State University
15 Olds Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824

One Planet, One Home, One Family

-----Original Message-----
From: 	Frederick W Stoss [mailto:fstoss@buffalo.edu] 
Sent:	Wednesday, June 16, 2004 3:44 PM
To:	Environmental Libraries/Information Organizations; TFOE@listhost.ciesin.org
Subject:	TFOE Hg-WG: mercury found in some cicadas (fwd)

This is an interesting and important message you might want to note. If you have not seen it, Dave Bertuca and I have compiled what we think is a nice site on Cicadas:
Please pass this on to other Environment and Resource Management
librarians you know. I was just thinking to ask if there are any members
of the SLA ERMD getting this to drop me a note (it's been ten [!!] years
since I last went to a SLA meeting and heard there was a good time in
Nashville). Contact me at fstoss@buffalo.edu
Fred Stoss
Frederick W. Stoss, M.S. (zool/ecol), M.L.S.
Biological and Environmental Sciences Librarian
University at Buffalo-SUNY
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date:	Wed, 16 Jun 2004 13:35:34 -0600
From:	Tony Tweedale <ttweed@wildrockies.org>
To:	mwg-mercury@igc.topica.com
Subject:	Hg-WG: mercury found in some cicadas

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DON'T EAT 'EM  Levels of mercury found in some cicadas
By April Yee and David Wecker   Post staff reporters
Post reporters Roy Wood and Steve Ivey also contributed to this story.
Publication Date: 05-29-2004
That cicada you're about to chow down on-you might want to reconsider.
While some local folks have lately been sampling various forms of cicada cuisine, two professors in the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering have found significant levels of mercury in some of the winged, red-eyed insects they've collected in three local communities.
"People should be cautious," said Tim Keener of UC's department of civil and environmental engineering. He and Soon-Jai Khang of the university's department of chemical and materials engineering have found surprising levels of mercury in the insects.
"Our results indicate that there are measurable and, in some instances, significant levels of mercury in the cicadas, with  the majority of the concentrations ranging from 0.02 to 0.20 parts per million, but some at higher levels," Keener said.
He advised against eating anything containing 0.1 parts per million of mercury. He further recommended that pregnant women and young children in particular limit their cicada intake as a result of his findings-like, to zero.
"We do not believe that eating a small number of these insects will result in irreparable harm, but mercury exposure may harm an unborn baby or young child's developing nervous system," Keener said.
The higher levels, he said, approach those in fish that have earned government warnings. Some fish have been found to contain 0.4 parts per million of the element.
Keener and Khang are trying to figure out whether the mercury concentrations in the cicadas they've studied are natural or if man-made factors have contributed to them. Low levels of mercury are natural in soil, according to Khang.
The two began measuring mercury in cicadas as part of a more general study on the levels of the element, especially around power plants.
Khang declined to reveal the locations where the cicadas had been collected.
"We don't want to give a false warning," he added. "We have to make sure this is actually regional-not a simple variation between individual cicadas.
"We think this is a kind of indicator that the soil they were in would be polluted. That's why we starting catching cicadas."
Keener, Khang and a group of their students were planning to collect more bugs and soil samples at other locations around Greater Cincinnati today.
Ironically, biology students at the UC Clermont College campus in Batavia, Ohio, competed Wednesday to see who could create the tastiest cicada-based grub in an event billed as "Shish-Ka Bug, the Greater Cicada Cookout."
Lisa Haynes-Henry, the college's marketing director, dined on German chocolate cake with cicadas, cicada sauerbraten and curried chickpea and cicada.
She said Friday that she hadn't had any negative effects from those delicacies. "We'd been planning the event for a few months," she said. "Had we known about the (mercury) study, we would have reevaluated and made it part of the curriculum."
Likewise, students in Steve Carson's biology and environmental science class at Mount Healthy, Ohio, High School cooked and ate cicadas Tuesday.
Mount Healthy Principal Jack Fisher said Carson had done "a decent amount" of research on the dangers of ingesting cicadas and believed the students would be safe. Carson also sent home permission slips for parents to sign before students could participate, Fisher said.
"No kids got sick," Fisher said.
For his part, Khang was stern in his warning: "Anything staying underground for 17 years and taking in all the heavy metals-don't eat it."

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