A study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health has found that 10 percent of the babies in northeastern Minnesota have a higher level of mercury in their blood than is considered safe.
This is a very alarming statistic because, according to the National Institutes of Health, mercury poisoning in infants can cause permanent damage to the brain.
Mercury is introduced into the environment from a variety of sources, including coal burning power plants, fluorescent light bulbs, and even some food processing systems.
In response to finding mercury in the blood of our infants, Sawtooth Mountain Clinic in Grand Marais is coordinating a study of women who are 16 to 50 years old and live in or near Cook County.
The study strives to interview and test at least 500 women. The interview lasts for an hour and is free and totally confidential. You will be asked about your fish eating habits and will have your blood tested for mercury. You will receive the results of the tests and will get information on how to get the positive health benefits of eating fish while avoiding exposure to mercury.
Better yet, all study participants who complete the process receive a $50 Visa gift card.
Registered nurse, Joyce Klees, is holding an enrollment event at the Birch Grove Community Center in Tofte Wednesday, Sept. 10 from 3 until 7 p.m.
If you can’t make the Birch Grove date, there is another all day enrollment opportunity at the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic Saturday, Sept. 13, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.
This is a very important study for the future health of our children and I strongly urge every eligible woman to participate.
At both events snacks and childcare will be provided. Call the clinic at 218-387-2330 and ask for the FISH coordinator if you want more information.
On a lighter note, the semi-regular card-making get-together is scheduled for the Birch Grove Community Center on Sunday, Sept. 14 from 3 to 7:30 p.m. There is a small charge and you are asked to bring a dish to share, potluck style, for dinner.
If you are new to card making, you can just show up and the veterans will share their supplies and expertise. Just think about how satisfying it would be to have all your cards made for the year – and to have them be cool, handmade and thoughtful.
Call Penny at 475-2432 for more information. You can always contact Birch Grove or WTIP for information as well.
I thought the blueberry report would be history by this point in the season. However, Duluth’s most avid blueberry harvest team, Jim and Teresa Warren, managed to pick 25 quarts of sweet berries in the Sawbill area over the Labor Day weekend.
They report that the bushes are still loaded and due to the cool, wet weather, the berries are unusually plump and sweet.
The Warrens admit to being obsessive about their picking habit, but I’m estimating that they have picked at least 30 gallons of blueberries this year. You’ll recognize them if you see them because they are the people with blue stains on their clothes, hands and faces. If they keep this up, they may start growing black fur and hibernating in the winter.
For WTIP, this is Bill Hansen with the West End News.