The sear-your-soul hot Japanese horseradish wasabi will reclaim its place as the Most Dangerous Part of Eating Sushi thanks to a new app from the Sierra Club that informs and educates consumers about toxic mercury levels in fish.
Launched this week, Safe Sushi helps users make smart decisions about how much toxic mercury they're adding to their bodies based on their fish choices.
It is free to download in the Android Market. Expect the iTunes version on December 16.
The app was designed for two very different types of users: sushi novices, who can search by mercury level (high, moderate and low), and sushi connoisseurs, who can search by the fish name.
The chemical’s point-of-entry into the food chain is coal-fired power plants.
“It rains down into our rivers and streams and then gets into the fish,” according to a Sierra Club press release. “Safe Sushi includes a tutorial that illustrates how mercury is absorbed into the atmosphere and moves through the food chain."
Known to cause neurological disorders, mercury is particularly dangerous for pregnant women and young children.
Alarmingly, as many as 1 in 6 American women have enough of the toxic in their bodies to put a baby at risk, and over 300,000 babies are born each year at risk of mercury poisoning.
In January 2008, The New York Times found so much mercury in tuna sushi from 20 Manhattan stores and restaurants that a diet of six pieces a week would exceed the levels considered acceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Download the free app here.