According to the April 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, dental fillings containing mercury pose little or no health risk for most children. The studies cited found no “detectable loss of cognitive or renal function in children who received fillings containing mercury.” That’s great news.
Locally, Minnesota may be about to strengthen its mercury emissions rules for coal-fired power plants. Last month, Governor Pawlenty said that he wanted local lawmakers to pass a bill requiring substantial mercury emissions reductions at the state's largest coal-fired plants. More great news.
Why, you may ask? Because mercury is a hardcore neurotoxin that can destroy the brain and nervous system, especially those of developing fetuses, which can be exposed to mercury if their mothers eat contaminated fish and other foods that score high on mercury tests.
Recently, sushi has gone from a newly fashionable ethnic edible to a pervasive über-snack. It’s fresh-tasting and naturally low in fat. The only place you can’t find sushi these days is at SuperAmerica. Target even sells it! But according to the LA Times, a public health watchdog group tested tuna from six restaurants on the Left Coast and discovered that mercury levels were double what the FDA guidelines say is safe to eat. Furthermore, some of the samples were “unsafe for anyone to eat.” Mercury accumulates in all predatory fish at a faster rate than nonpredators, which is why it’s safer to eat walleye this summer at the cabin than swordfish or tuna at the local fish house. While mercury levels continue to soar, both in our oceans and here in our Land of 10,000 Lakes, there is little or no testing of the daily catch on a national or local level. Caveat emptor . . . .
Cooking Class of the Year:
On a more positive note, the legendary Wolfgang Puck will be in town on the May 2, doing a participatory cooking class, demonstration. and a five-course tasting menu for eighty people at the Walker Art Center. With Puck will be Sherry Yard, his longtime pastry honcho and the winner of the 2002 James Beard Award for pastry chef of the year. Guests will also receive a custom-made chef’s jacket and a one-of-a-kind plate designed by Takashi Murakami. If you are interested in tickets, they are 1,500 bucks a pop, but the proceeds from the dinner benefit the Walker programs and the evening is looking to be a must-go, one-of-a-kind affair. Call the Walker at 612-375-7642 for more info.