Dr. Jane Hightower to be keynote speaker at November Mining Summit

18 August 2010, NEVADA CITY – The Sierra Fund is excited to announce that Dr. Jane Hightower will be a keynote speaker at our November conference Reclaiming the Sierra:  A Gold Country Community Summit on Mining Impacts

Dr. Hightower is widely acknowledged as the first US physician to recognize low-level mercury poisoning in patients who regularly consume certain types of fish.   Dr. Hightower’s book, Diagnosis: Mercury: Money, Politics, and Poison, has been widely acclaimed and has brought the issue of mercury in fish to national attention. 

Dr. Hightower’s information complements The Sierra Fund’s ongoing work to document potential exposure to mercury in fish conducting a survey of more than 150 anglers at various water bodies in the Sierra Nevada.  The Sierra Fund’s published preliminary results from their Gold Country Angler Survey in the California Rural Health Advocate Spring edition.  This study documented that indeed, some people are consuming fish known to be contaminated by mercury in quantities dangerous to their health. 

“Common sense says that if you are not feeling well, and are eating poison, then stop eating it and see if you feel better,” said Dr. Hightower. “The problem is that we are not given enough information about just how much mercury is in the fish.  Most American consumers are simply unaware that the fish they eat could be making them sick.”

Hightower’s research spans from individual patients in her practice to widespread mercury poisonings in Japan, Canada, and Iraq. Diagnosis: Mercury makes a powerful case for increased study and stronger FDA regulation of this poison in our food supply.

Materials that complement the book’s findings are available at diagnosismercury.org, including a summary of the many ways mercury toxicity expresses itself in patients and a list of which types of fish typically contain the highest and the lowest levels of mercury as well as a chart that illustrates the many competing mercury consumption guidelines from the EPA, the FDA, and others.

Jane M. Hightower, M.D., is a board certified internal medicine physician in San Francisco, California. She published a landmark study that brought the issue of mercury in fish to national attention. She continues to publish scientific papers and give lectures on the subject.

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