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Apr 12, 2011 01:12 PM

Am I the only one worried about the safety of sea salt?

Below are some facts I found through the Smithsonian on the health of oceans after news of Fukushima radiation leaks into the Pacific had me putting my sea salt back in the cupboard and reaching for the Morton's. Am I being ridiculous in thinking that the sea salt craze may need to be reconsidered? I did a quick Google search on the safety of sea salt and came up empty handed. Is there a scientist out there with some input?

Oil spills account for only about five percent of the oil entering the oceans.

Waters sewage treatment plants discharge twice as much oil each year as tanker spills.

Each year industrial, household cleaning, gardening, and automotive products pollute water.

It is estimated that medical waste that washed up onto Long Island and New Jersey beaches in the summer of 1988 cost as much as $3 billion in lost revenue from tourism and recreation.

The most frequently found item in beach cleanups is pieces of plastic. The next four items are plastic foam, plastic utensils, pieces of glass and cigarette butts.

Air pollution is responsible for almost one-third of the toxic contaminants and nutrients that enter coastal areas and oceans.

In 1993, United States beaches were closed or swimmers advised not to get in the water over 2,400 times because of sewage contamination.

There are 109 countries with coral reefs. Reefs in 90 of them are being damaged by cruise ship anchors and sewage.

**I should add that I understand the impossibility of reducing chemical interference in one's life to zero. I'm just saying that recently sea salt's been giving me the heebie-jeebies.

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  1. Any reason why sea salt would suddenly terrify you, but fish gets a pass? If it does, of course.

    6 Replies
    1. re: small h

      I detest them. The idea that it's suggested not to eat fish if it smells like fish is enough of a reason for me to pass.

      1. re: foodworthy

        I am not familiar with this rule about not eating fish if it smells like fish. All fish smells like fish to me (it certainly doesn't smell like honeysuckle). So, sorry to go a little off topic on you, but where did you hear this?

        1. re: small h

          i think foodworthy is referring to the rule that if raw/uncooked fish smells overpoweringly "fishy" as opposed to briny or ocean-y, it's most likely not very fresh.

          1. re: small h

            Fresh fish smells - fresh. Like cucumbers or sea air. Fish that smells fishy is old and not good to cook or eat.

            1. re: chicgail

              Since I'm too lazy to retype the thought, this is lifted from an earlier post:

              "I think the TV chef aphorism about the smell of fish can be misleading. I mean, if the ocean really smelled like the creatures I extract from it, I assure you I would not revel in the surf half the days of the year. I agree with many that not all fish smells the same, but let’s be honest, fish smells like fish.

              I acknowledge that fish smells like fish at the time I remove the hook. Fish smells like fish on ice on the trip back to the Inlet. Fish smells like fish while I am cleaning it and so do my hands and knife when I’m done. Fish smells like fish when I cook it. . . ."

              Oh, and so as to stay on the main point: I'm not afraid to dive under a wave, get a mouthful of sea water, or consume any of the sea salts I routinely use.

              1. re: MGZ

                Thank you. That was my point, exactly. The word "fishy" has acquired negative connotations, so now people insist that fish that smells "fishy" is bad. Fish that smells spoiled is bad, just like butter that smells spoiled is bad. But you don't hear anyone telling you not to eat butter that smells buttery.

                And if the day ever comes when I can't smell the difference between fish and cucumber, I will sadly conclude that I've completely lost my olfactory sense.

      2. So use the Morton's. There's no health benefit to using sea salt and if stresses you out then don't use it.

        1. Well salt kills cooties so you don't have to worry about that.

          Of all the things to be concerned about this has to rank among the weirdest. Salt has to come from somewhere, if not from the sea then from a salt mine ... you are betting the salt mine is cleaner than sea water? How do you know that? The salt mine could be located next to the local dump.

          The ocean is a big place, pollution is diluted to minute amounts, is that true of a salt mine?

          I use the generic table salt myself, but whatever the source I use I would not worry about it ... because it is salt.

          1. The ocean has a cleaning mechanism in place for just about everything. It's only when it can't clean itself quickly enough that things become an issue. So far, none of the above are big issues.

            As for radiation, it really frustrates me that people forgot that we (U.S.) blew up a bunch of bombs in our backyard (New Mexico), releasing a whole lotta radiation that didn't wipe us out or affect anyone distant... Well, there is the whole thing about our teeth being more radioactive, but that's not an issue. As for water and stuff, I recall the French detonating some big ones near Australian waters in the 90s.

            8 Replies
            1. re: ediblover

              usa nuclear tests...1054 tests
              russia 715 tests
              france 210 tests
              united kingdom 45 tests
              china 45 tests
              india 6 tests
              pakistan 6 tests
              north korea 2 tests...

              those were a mix of above ground,underground and ocean tests...
              if u really want to worry....

              and yea the french created godzilla with their tests

              1. re: ediblover

                utah's still radioactive from those bombs.

                1. re: Chowrin

                  so is nevada

                  and whats left of bikini atoll

                  1. re: Chowrin

                    Morton's has salt mines in Utah. So you'd better put it back in the cupboard and use Accent instead.

                    1. re: C. Hamster

                      ha. salt and accent are totally different flavors

                      1. re: C. Hamster

                        Accent is just a meat tenderizer isn't it?Oh well I am going to need some Accent if I don't stop rinsing the blood of meat.I can't help myself the blood is gross.

                        1. re: Smiley881

                          My tongue was firmly planted in my furry little cheek with the Accent comment...

                          1. re: Smiley881

                            No, Accent is just plain MSG, a flavor enhancer. You are probably thinking of Adolph's Meat Tenderizer. That is an enzyme extracted from pineapples (bromelain) which breaks down proteins.

                    2. Is there any scientific evidence out there, perhaps that when the water evaporates that most of the toxins and pollution evaporate with it? Otherwise I would think it would be concentrated into the salt.

                      The ocean may have a cleaning mechanism, but I don't think that mechanism was prepared for the pollution that humans have dumped into it in the last century or two.