CSU, Chico News

Alum, Jane Hightower, M.D., to Speak on the Politics of Mercury Poisoning

Date: 09-28-2009

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Leslie Schibsted,
College of Natural Sciences

Dr. Jane M. Hightower, a 1983 graduate of California State University, Chico, will be the guest lecturer at the Biology Seminar this Friday, Oct. 2, at 4 p.m. in Holt Hall 170. Her topic will be “Diagnosis Mercury,” based on her book “Diagnosis: Mercury: Money, Politics and Poison” (Island Press, 2008).

Dr. Hightower was the 2004 Distinguished Alumna for the College of Natural Sciences and is a medical doctor practicing in San Francisco. She stumbled onto a medical mystery several years ago, when patients came to her with ailments that she could not diagnose. Her search led her to mercury poisoning, a diagnosis for which she found little clarity in current literature at the time.

Hightower soon discovered that people were being sickened and the public health was suffering at the hands of corporate greed and government apathy. In her search for understanding about the ways in which mercury was sickening her patients, she uncovered ways in which money and influence led to people being poisoned.

In her book, “Diagnosis: Mercury,” she tells the story of unlikely allies like the coal industry, the fishing industry and the Food and Drug Administration working to hide the truth from consumers. The simple truth: people get sick when they eat too much fish with too much mercury.

Hightower will also be appearing at Barnes and Noble on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 4 to 6 pm for a talk and book signing. Both of these events are open to the public and free.