Chicago actor Jeremy Piven has unexpectedly left the cast of the Broadway revival of "Speed-the-Plow" because of a mercury count that his doctor said was the highest level he'd ever seen.
Piven, 43, wanted to continue but he was advised to stop. Dr. Carlon Colker, who had been treating Piven, said Piven was suffering from "extreme mercury toxicity" and that "a test revealed that Jeremy had ... six times a healthy amount of mercury in his system." Piven has long been a sushi eater, often twice a day, which may be the ultimate cause of the problem.
A major symptom of mercury poisoning is extreme fatigue. Piven was also experiencing neuro-muscular dysfunction, which resulted in his having trouble lifting his arms and legs.
Dr. Mercola adds...
This announcement comes just weeks after the U.S. FDA began arguing that pregnant women should eat more fish, even if it contains mercury
! Although no definitive link has proven that Jeremy Piven's twice-a-day sushi habit is what caused his excessively high mercury levels, common sense would indicate that there is likely a connection.
Recent testing of sushi bars show that sushi does often appear to be contaminated with mercury, and in some cases worse so than other fish.
Laboratory tests in New York released last year found so much mercury in tuna sushi that two or three pieces a week at some restaurants could be a health hazard.
In fact, eight out of the 44 pieces of sushi purchased by the New York Times for testing had mercury levels so high
that the FDA could take legal action to remove the fish from the market. And the problem is certainly not isolated to New York.
When sushi samples from 10 high-rated Chicago sushi restaurants were tested it was found that:
- 70 percent exceeded the Illinois Environmental Protection agency's (IEPA) special advisory threshold for methylmercury. At that level, women of childbearing age and children are advised to eat no more than one serving per month
- 14 percent had a concentration higher than 0.730 ppm -- a level that no women or children should ever consume
- 10 percent of the tuna samples were unsafe for all consumers, because they contained mercury levels above 1.0 ppm, which is the legal action limit for fish sold in the U.S.
The dangers of consuming too much mercury are often focused on children and pregnant women because of the known damage it can pose to a baby's developing central nervous system. However, as Jeremy Piven would surely attest to, too much mercury is dangerous for adults too.
The Risks of Mercury Poisoning
Thousands of tons of mercury are released into the air each year through pollution and waste. In the environment the mercury can transform into organic mercury, which is known as methylmercury, and accumulate in streams, oceans, water and soil.
Methylmercury also accumulates in the food chain, so each fish absorbs the mercury in other fish and organisms it eats. For this reason, larger and older fish such as shark, tuna and swordfish contain the highest levels of methylmercury.
People who regularly eat fish have higher levels of methylmercury than those who don't, which is concerning, considering that methylmercury toxicity can result in paraesthesia (a tingling sensation on your skin), depression, and blurred vision.
In fetuses and developing infants it can also have negative effects on attention span, language, visual-spatial skills, memory and coordination. It is estimated that nearly 60,000 children each year are born at risk for neurological problems due to methylmercury exposure in the womb.
Mercury is especially damaging to your central nervous system (CNS), and studies show that mercury in the CNS causes psychological, neurological, and immunological problems including:
- Arrhythmias and cardiomyopathies
- Personality changes and irritability
- Blurred vision
- Slowed mental response
- Unsteady gait
To make matters worse, mercury bonds very firmly to structures in your CNS. Unless actively removed, mercury has an extremely long half-life of somewhere between 15 and 30 years in the CNS!
Fish is Not the Only Source of Mercury
Eating fish frequently is one way to elevate your mercury levels, but it is not the only one. Silver dental fillings
(amalgams) are another major contributor.
Amalgams are made up of 50 percent mercury. More than 100 million mercury fillings are placed each year in the United States, as over 90 percent of dentists use them for restoring posterior teeth.
The average individual has eight amalgam fillings and could absorb up to 120 micrograms of mercury per day from their amalgams. For comparison, estimates of the daily absorption of all forms of mercury from fish and seafood is 2.3 micrograms and from all other foods, air and water is 0.3 micrograms per day.
Adults with four or more amalgams run a significant risk of mercury-related health problems from them, while in children as few as two amalgams will contribute to health problems.
In most children, meanwhile, the largest source of mercury is that received from vaccinations or that transferred to them in utero from their mother.
Steps to Remove Mercury from Your Body
First of all, you should reduce your exposure to additional mercury as much as possible by:
- Avoiding fish (unless it has been lab-tested and found to be free of harmful levels of mercury)
- Not having anymore silver fillings put in (if you need a filling, see a biological dentist who uses mercury-free materials)
- Avoiding vaccinations that contain mercury, such as flu shots
- Making sure any herbal remedies you're taking are from a reputable source with strict quality testing (some low-quality remedies can be high in mercury and other toxic metals)
Next, I recommend that you have any existing amalgam fillings removed ... but avoid making the mistake I did 20 years ago by having it done by a non-biological dentist. I'd say only about 5 percent of dentists know how to remove these fillings safely, so do your research and seek out a highly qualified biological dentist.
You see, when you have these fillings removed you can be exposed to significant amounts of mercury vapors if the dentist doesn't know what he or she is doing.
My mercury exposure from having this done improperly nearly caused me to lose both my kidneys and go on dialysis. For this reason, I suggest you get healthy BEFORE having your fillings removed
, as you want your detoxification mechanisms optimized prior to removal.
To remove mercury that has already accumulated in your body, I highly recommend reviewing my Mercury Detoxification Protocol
, which details the things you can do right now to help detoxify your body of this toxic substance. If your mercury levels are seriously elevated, you should work with a knowledgeable health care practitioner to help you through the detoxification process.