The Dangers That Are Associated With Mercury in Fish
Most types of fish are extremely healthy. However, certain varieties contain high levels of mercury, a known toxin. Seafood consumption is the largest contributor to mercury accumulation in humans.
This is a result of the chemical working its way up the food chain in the sea. Plants that grow in mercury-contaminated waters are consumed by small fish, which are then consumed by larger fish. Over time, mercury accumulates in the bodies of those larger fish, which are eventually eaten by humans.
In the US and Europe, determining how much mercury people get from fish is difficult. This is due to the wide-ranging mercury content of different fish.
Mercury is a neurotoxin, meaning it can damage the brain and nerves. Pregnant women are at particularly high risk, since mercury can affect the fetus’s developing brain and nervous system.
A 2014 analysis found that in several countries, mercury levels in the hair and blood of women and children were significantly higher than the World Health Organization recommends, particularly in coastal communities and near mines.
Another study found that the amount of mercury varied widely among different brands and types of canned tuna. It found that 55% of the samples were in excess of the EPA’s 0.5 ppm (parts per million) safety limit. Some fish, such as king mackerel and swordfish, are extremely high in mercury and should be avoided. However, eating other types of fish is still advised because they have many health benefits.