The head of the Food and Drug Administration announced that new guidelines are coming about mercury in seafood but they’ll be an advisory, not a mandate and won’t require mercury labels on seafood packages.
Mercury in fish. Consumption advice is for
(graphic credit: Wikipedia)
Mercury in the form of methyl- mercury tends to bioaccumulate in marine organisms and gets biomagnified along the marine food-chain. For most people, intake of mercury from eating seafood isn’t a health risk. But the FDA has
warned that pregnant women, those who might become pregnant, and young children avoid certain types
of high-mercury fish because of concern that too much could harm a developing brain. The U.S. government’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines incorporated the FDA’s warnings to say that pregnant or
breastfeeding women should consume 8 to 12 ounces of a variety of seafood per week. But it said
they should not eat tilefish, shark, swordfish and king mackerel because of the mercury content,
and it advised limiting white albacore tuna to 6 ounces a week. This is due to high mercury levels in these larger fish.
FDA update of mercury-in-seafood adviceCommissioner Margaret Hamburg Related information U.S. FDA: Draft Updated Advice by FDA and EPA: Fish - What Pregnant Women and Parents Should Know USDA: Dietary Guidelines for Americans U.S. FDA: Mercury and Methylmercury (in Food) U.S. FDA: What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish (March 2004) U.S. FDA: Mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish (1990-2010) U.S. EPA: What you need to know about mercury in fish and shellfish U.S. EPA: Fish Consumption Advisories U.S. EPA: Mercury GotMercury.org: Mercury calculator (calculate the mercury intake from fish meals) BRI
- Report: Mercury in the Global Environment: Patterns of Global Seafood
Mercury Concentrations and their Relationship with Human Health Zero
Mercury Working Group - Report: An Overview of Epidemiological Evidence
on the Effects of Methylmercury on Brain Development, and A Rationale
for a Lower Definition of Tolerable Exposure, December 2012 Related EVISA Resources: Link Database: Mercury exposure through the diet Link Database: Environmental cycling of methylmercury Link Database: Environmental cycling of inorganic mercury Link Database: Environmental pollution of methylmercury Link Database: Environmental pollution of inorganic mercury Link Database: Toxicity of mercury Related EVISA News March 11, 2014: Mercury in Fish: Groups Sue FDA for Seafood Health Information November 20, 2013: EPA Study: Mercury Levels in Women of Childbearing Age Drop 34 Percent
said on Friday May 30th that the agency will update guidance on mercury in varieties of seafood and what that means. That’s a long-awaited move aimed at helping women better understand what to eat when they’re pregnant. Consumer groups have sued the agency, saying that the warnings weren’t clear enough about what to avoid.
“It’s an advisory, not an effort to mandate labeling,” Hamburg said on ABC News
. “Different seafood products do contain different levels of mercury, and so different seafood products can be rated in terms of levels of mercury.”
Caroline Smith DeWaal of the Center for Science in the Public Interest
, one of the groups that sued, said the new advisory will be an improvement if it gives consumers better information, especially if that information could be kept at fish counters in grocery stores and retail outlets.
January 14, 2013: Mercury Levels in Humans and Fish Around the World Regularly Exceed Health Advisory Levels
December 24, 2012: Mercury in food – EFSA updates advice on risks for public health
December 9, 2012: Mercury in fish more dangerous than previously
believed; Scientists urge for effective treaty ahead of UN talks July 31, 2012: FDA Lands in Court Over Mercury in Fish June 17, 2012: Factors Affecting Methylmercury Accumulation in the Food Chain
October 15, 2011: Mercury pollution in the Great Lakes region -- nearly forgotten, but not gone
August 16, 2010: Methylmercury: What have we learned from Minamata Bay?
June 28, 2010: New Study Examines Why Mercury is More Dangerous in Oceans
August 21, 2009: USGS Study Reveals Mercury Contamination in Fish Nationwide
June 17, 2009: 'Surprisingly High Levels' of Methylmercury Contamination found in Groundwater
May 5, 2009: Ocean mercury on the rise
February 11, 2009: Mercury in Fish is a Global Health Concern
October 30, 2008: Precautionary approach to methylmercury needed
March 11, 2007: Methylmercury contamination of fish warrants worldwide public warning
October 9, 2006: Linking atmospheric mercury to methylmercury in fish
September 23, 2006: Report Finds Mercury Contamination Permeates Wildlife Systems
August 16, 2006: Mercury pollution threatens health worldwide, scientists say
February 9, 2006: Study show high levels of mercury in women related to fish consumption
September 13, 2005: Regulating Mercury Emissions from Power Plants: Will It Protect Our Health?
August 29, 2005: Is methyl mercury limiting the delight of
seafood ? - To answer this question is a challenge for elemental
April 3, 2005: Dissension on the best way to fight mercury pollution
March 20, 2005: New results on the distribution of mercury in the
USA is fueling the discussion on the necessity of the reduction of its
January 12, 2005: Number of fish meals is a good predictor for
the mercury found in hair of environmental journalists
April 27, 2004: FDA/EPA recommends pregnant women to restrict
their fish consumption because of methylmercury content
last time modified: June 12, 2014