Health Alert: Are You Mercury-Free?
I don’t know if anyone else had the same experience, but when my siblings and I were kids, we’d play with broken thermometers because we were fascinated with how mercury would group itself into little globs of silver.
Well, last Friday, September 3, my sister and I were invited to Watsons’ Mercury-Free Health Care seminar and found out that we weren’t the only kids that played with this chemical. Former Gameplan host, Suzy Entrata recounted the same childhood experience she had with mercury: her friends would wait for thermometers to break so that they could play with the seemingly harmless globs of silver.
The reason for this badly-needed seminar? Apparently, Watsons is phasing out all mercury-based products because of the risk this element poses to our health. This brought me back to a story I’ve read in Reader’s Digest about actress Daphne Zuniga’s (Melrose Place) struggle with mercury poisoning. I never forgot that story because I am a fish and vegetable eater. She was a pesco-vegetarian as well. It was her regular consumption of tuna that caused her poisoning.
What happens when you are poisoned by mercury? Well, memory loss, sensory impairment, breakouts, headaches and depression are just a few of the symptoms. The worst of it? Brain damage and inevitable death.
Before I listened to the rest of the speakers’ discussion, I looked around and saw that people who received this card would go to various booths and have themselves assessed. A few things of note were the bone health examination (sponsored by Anlene) and the digital blood pressure check.
Here’s a photo of some of the volunteers for Anlene’s bone check. I didn’t get to sample some of the healthy herbal teas provided by the booth right beside it, although I enjoyed the meal Secret Recipes served. The buffet was composed of chicken, salad, mango cake and some grape-mango-pineapple beverage. Very healthy.
There were lots of speakers involved, ranging from doctors to social scientists. Celebrities joined in the cause, too. In fact, for every celebrity that attended, 50 digital thermometers were donated to hospitals. (Unfortunately, I barely know the celebrities since I don’t really watch TV.)
The speakers had me riveted. I never knew the extent of mercury’s strength until I listened to them. It goes with the circle of life: eaten by little fishies that are eaten by big fishies that are eaten by human beings. In effect, we human beings consume mercury at its most toxic level. You can’t destroy it. You can only properly dispose of it.
As with every other health related issues, prevention is key. For my part, ever since reading Zuniga’s account a few years ago, I have minimized my salmon and tuna intake. These two fishies contain the highest levels of mercury.
After lunch, I went around to see the nifty mercury-free equipment. One of them was Omron’s digital blood pressure machine.
These are digital thermometers, which will be exclusively distributed by Watsons. It’s a good thing that they kept the prices down because we really should make health-related devices as cheap as we possibly can.
My sister and I didn’t leave empty-handed. We were given a huge loot bag that contained Bath and Beyond products, Biogesic gift packs, and these:
The futuristic-looking gadget in front is a Watsons digital thermometer and behind it is Omron’s pedometer. I was lucky! I need the pedometer because — and I am going to blog about this soon — I am trying to live an even healthier life. Filipinos, in general, hate walking but it seems that to keep oneself fit, one has to walk a minimum of 10,000 steps.
I suppose that shouldn’t be too hard since we love malling. We never notice how far we walk when we do this favorite recreational activity. I just want to make sure that I really do reach the 10,000-step quota.
As for the rest of Daphne Zuniga’s story? She stopped eating fish and turned to glutathione-enriched protein shakes to detoxify her body.