Category: Toxicity

Minimata Disease

Stated in my previous posts, Japan may be being lead into a widespread mercury poisoning epidemic. While the extent of all this is still being examined, research shows that the evidence is there. Now this isn’t the first time that the Japan has run into trouble with the medical troubles of mercury poisoning and its effect on society. Mercury poisoning A.K.A. Minimata Disease first struck Japan in the 1950’s. It is referred to as Minimata disease because of an ecological and medical disaster that happened in 1956.

Minimata disease is a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning. Symptoms include ataxiz, numbness in the hands and feet, general muscle weakness, narrowing of the field of vision and damage to hearing and speech. In extreme cases,insanity, paralysis, coma and death follow within weeks of the onset of symptoms. A congenital form of the disease can also affect fetuses in the womb.

What essentially happened was that the Chisso Corporation that was located in Minimata dumped waste-water into the surrounding ecosystem. This waste-water contained methyl mercury, a highly toxic chemical. Once this was dumped into the surrounding ecosystem it was bioaccumulated by fish and shellfish. The local towns then ate these contaminated sea animals and lead to thousands of deaths. As of March, 2001 2,265 victims have been officially recognized. In more recent news, as of 2010, more than 2,000 cases have come to an agreement with the government and the Chisso corporation for effects of the disease and the actions that took place more than 5 decades ago.


Okay, so we understand at this point that dolphins are being killed. But… why?

To no surprise, people eat dolphin. In Taiji, Japan, 23,00 cetaceans are killed a year. When the dolphins are all forced into the infamous cove, trainers from all over the world gather to pick out the appealing ones. Logic dictates that the rest must be eaten. There’s no telling where all these dolphins really end up.  Though it’s strange, one would think that if the Japanese are killing this many dolphins a year then they must be the ones eating it as well. Though, research shows that many Japanese are unaware that this is even occurring.

Okay! So dolphins are being eaten! BIG DEAL, humans eat pretty much anything. Yes, if you think this, you’re completely right. In fact its biologically ingrained within us to eat other animals. We see it happen in the animal kingdom every day. Lions eat gazelles. Cats eat mice. Dolphins aren’t vegetarians, they eat fish. We all draw the line somewhere on what we will eat and what we won’t. It is a matter of taste.

That would be a good argument if dolphin meat wasn’t toxic. Yes, dolphin meat is toxic, very toxic. Dolphins and other smaller cetaceans contain about 12 to 16 times (on anverage) the acceptable amount of mercury allowable by national health standards. This is undeniable evidence that killing and eating dolphin is NOT A GOOD THING.

So there are 23,000 cetaceans scooped out of the water every year out of Taiji alone. Where does all this dolphin meat go if it is known that dolphin meat is toxic? It is well-documented that middle men in charge of distribution have been mixing dolphin meat into the market and labeling it as whale meat. The Japanese have no idea they are being fed poison by their own government. Tests have shown that a relatively large of amount of Japanese have dangerously high levels of mercury.

The Japanese government has recently admitted to serving dolphin meat to school children for their regular meals.