Q&A: Mercury in fish

Consumer Reports News: December 30, 2008 11:08 AM

Recent news stories have suggested that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering relaxing its fish-consumption advice for vulnerable populations, such as women of child-bearing age, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children.

The stories are based on a leaked internal draft report, which has been posted on the website of the Environmental Working Group. The FDA told us that the reports aren't accurate, and the guidelines won't be changed in the near future.

Currently, the FDA advises these populations to avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish (all contain high levels of mercury), to eat only 12 ounces (about 2 average meals) a week of lower-mercury fish, and to reduce albacore tuna consumption to 6 ounces a week.

Consumers Union believes that the mercury warnings for these populations should actually be strengthened, and that pregnant women should avoid all fish that might contain risky levels of mercury, including canned tuna.

What would it mean to relax the existing advice on mercury consumption in fish for these populations? Get the answers to this and other questions in the full post on our Health blog.

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