Magazine article Work & Family Life

What Everyone Needs to Know about Mercury in Fish

Magazine article Work & Family Life

What Everyone Needs to Know about Mercury in Fish

Article excerpt

We're told to eat fish for the health benefits and also to be careful about eating fish (pregnant women and young children especially) because of the mercury content. Where's the balance? What do we need to know about this confusing issue?

Let's start with the basics. Here's a summary of the latest information from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

What's the problem? Mercury is a neurotoxin, which means it can damage the brain and nervous system. That's why this is an important issue for growing children and for women who are pregnant or nursing. "A developing brain is the most vulnerable to the harmful effects of mercury," says University of Arizona toxicologist Vas Aposhian.

Where's the mercury? The leading source in the diet is seafood, especially larger, older fish higher up on the food chain such as tuna. Among the canned varieties, albacore (white) tuna contains about three times more mercury than light tuna because the albacore is a larger fish. Shellfish on the other hand contain very little mercury. …

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