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Methyl Mercury in Seafood
What fish might contain high levels of methyl mercury?
SWORDFISH - SHARK - KING MACKEREL - TILE FISH
Why should I care?
If you are a Pregnant woman, a woman of childbearing age who may become
pregnant, a nursing mother, or a young child the FDA advises that you
avoid eating the fish listed above. These fish may contain high levels of methyl
mercury that, if eaten regularly, could pose developmental risks to unborn
How does mercury get into fish?
Mercury occurs naturally in the environment, and it can also be
released into the air through industrial pollution. Mercury can fall
from the air and accumulate in streams and oceans where, aided by
bacteria, it undergoes a chemical transformation into methyl mercury,
which can be toxic. Fish absorb methyl mercury from water as they
feed on aquatic organisms. Larger fish (like those listed above)
feed on other fish throughout their longer lives and thereby accumulate
the highest levels of methyl mercury.
What about other fish?
Along with the warning above, the FDA also acknowledges that seafood
can be an important part of a balanced diet for pregnant women. It
is a good source of high-quality protein and nutrients and is low in
fat. Having a variety of shellfish, canned fish, smaller ocean fish
and farm-raised fish in your diet allows you to safely enjoy eating them
as part of a healthful, balanced diet.
How can I learn more?
Phone the 24-hour U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Information
Line at 1-888-SAFEFOOD (1-888-723-33663.)
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