Mercury Movie's Big-Screen Premiere September 5 at DHMC

August 31, 2012
Lebanon, NH

Carolyn Murray, MD, MPH

Carolyn Murray, MD, PhD

Aiming to help healthcare providers and consumers limit the amount of mercury in seafood that those consumers serve to their families, the Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth will screen a short film at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center on September 5.

The toxic-metals group and the Geisel School will show Mercury: from Source to Seafood in Auditorium G, starting at 6:00 p.m. In addition to explaining the science behind mercury contamination, the 10-minute video follows the journey of mercury from coal-fired power plants to the seafood we eat, and discusses which species of fish contain the least and the most mercury. It also covers the overall health benefits of eating fish, and the importance of reducing human-generated mercury in the environment.

Panelists for the discussion that will follow the film include Celia Chen, PhD, research professor in Dartmouth's Department of Biological Sciences; Duane Compton, PhD, dean of research at the Geisel School and a longtime biochemistry researcher;  Carolyn Murray, MD, MPH, a member of DHMC's occupational-medicine team and a lead researcher for the Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Center at Dartmouth; and Mary Saucier Choate, food and nutrition educator for the Co-op Food Stores.

"This mercury film is the second in a short series of videos we felt would be an excellent way to put our science to use to help people with every-day issues that affect their health," says Bruce Stanton, PhD, director of the toxic metals program and a professor of physiology at the Geisel School. "Consumers need to know why they should still eat fish, understand why mercury is in our seafood, and learn what we can do to prevent mercury from entering our environment. This movie tells the story in a compelling but brief format."

Chen, research translation core leader of Dartmouth's Superfund program and an expert in the fate and transport of mercury in aquatic ecosystems, represents Dartmouth in the film.

"I have been studying mercury in the environment for many years, and I am particularly pleased that this movie takes the confusion and mystery out of whether people should eat seafood," Chen says. "While it is important to have the health benefits of eating fish, everyone needs to know which fish are safe to eat."

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) supported the film project with a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to the Geisel School. The movie developed as part of the Coastal and Marine Mercury Ecosystem Research Collaborative (C-MERC). The Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program convened this international group of 50 scientists and policy stakeholders to identify and analyze existing data and gaps in knowledge, and to publish synthesis papers on the fate of mercury from its environmental sources to consumers of seafood.

In 2010, the Dartmouth toxic-metals group produced the first in the series of short films, In Small Doses: Arsenic, about the risks associated with exposure to potentially harmful amounts of arsenic in the water of private wells.

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