Thursday, December 2, 2010

Catfish from China?

I was going to do a little number crunching to give you some points to ponder but I quickly realized two things.  One, you really cannot get numbers about anything in China and Two, if you do, they are probably inaccurate.

Here is what we know - China is the country with the most people.  This source, lists China as the number two oil consumer, (second to USA) and the number two electricity generator and consumer.  

China is the number one producer and user of coal and this is where I was going with my post.  If not the greatest source of mercury and other green house gases,  coal fired power plants are at the top.  China has the most coal fired power plants in the world - we believe.  China is listed as the number one polluter - the greatest producer of carbon dioxide emissions.

I was going to track automobile emissions in China and realized that auto ownership per capita would not include everyone who drove - but when I tried looking for vehicle miles traveled by country - China was never on the list. China doesn't like to share.  In fact, I think that if you look  too hard they charge you with spying.

So, let us never mind about cars. 

China is reported to have the most coal production and use.  In 2006, I wrote a lot about mercury contamination of fish.  (mercury from coal fired power plants)  I looked into the fish that I like to eat, salmon, tilapia, mahi mahi, shrimp etc  -all good.  I noted shark, swordfish and tuna steak as being risky.  Any of this ring a bell?  I may have encouraged you to check out the EPA/FDA research on mercury and fish, here.

To be honest, I do not know where the fish that the EPA samples comes from - our oceans, our fish farms, or our stores.  I can tell you that the assessment for catfish was completed from 1990 to 2004 and the 2004 numbers are much higher than the 1990 - so the number you see as the average is not a recent number.

This is all about what I heard on the radio today - the USA does not get catfish from the USA - it is imported from China.  We get our catfish from the most polluted country in the world - makes you pause... actually, they are the leading seafood importer for the USA - so I'd check  all those fish packages if I were me.  Oh I AM me, so I will check them.

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