I'll state up front that I don't have a scientific background. But even I can see that the claims about the impact of the reduction of tuna consumption on low-income families are completely lacking any kind of scientific basis. This is their science:
1) Low-income households reduced their tuna consumption between 2000 and 2006
2) A study of seafood (not tuna specifically) consumption done in 2007 showed babies of mothers
who didn't eat tuna had lower IQs than those whose mothers did
3) Therefore, all of the babies born into those low-income households who stopped buying tuna were more likely to be IQ deficient.
Seriously, that's the "science" they used. They also made claims about the reduction in tuna consumption in low-income households and claimed it was due to government "scare" warnings. But they provide no data to back up that claim.
As you can see, this isn't "science", it's "junk science". What's even more junky about the science is that the study they
referenced wasn't about canned tuna, it was about seafood consumption (in England). Even the scientific study they rely on to make their claims seems pretty dodgy. Here's a good critique with an important point highlighted:
"There were significant socio-economic and demographic differences between those mothers which would point to other potential causes for any differences. ... For example, those mothers eating no fish as compared to the most fish were twice as likely to be living in crowded homes of more than 1 person per room, to be smokers and of low education; and five times more likely to be an unmarried and teenage mother."
Do you think that might have had an impact on IQ?
The same web site presents the other side of the debate here and she comes out strongly against reducing tuna consumption during pregnancy or otherwise:
Still, she points out at the end that there's no science to support a claim that there's any science to support the claim that reducing tuna consumption impacts IQ development. I think it's a more honest assessment of the science and one you won't find on the MercuryFacts web site.
From: Pat Crowley <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, October 27, 2008 8:43:08 AM
Subject: E-M:/ fish consumption
Dear Fellow E-Michers:
I came across this website on a Republican blog this morning and was hoping if someone more knowledgeable could critique it.
Eg, the facts, the source, and why was it in a political
I am hoping for serious discussion, not political blaming.
I want people to be able to fish and eat the fish from our Michigan waterways.
I have read the Michigan advisories but do wonder at times how the benefits and risks really stack up.
Michigan needs to find ways for our people to make more connection with our waters, not less.
Is there any hope that our fish can become safer to eat in the future?
If many or most of our pollutants are from airborne contaminants, can we ever reclaim our fish as food sources?
Do we have serious plans to pursue ways of reducing pollutants from airborne sources so as to protect our waters?
Obviously, we can work on doing a better job of managing our water resources at the ground level, but will airborne contaminants negate our work?
Pat Crowley, Kalamazoo