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Consumer Reports: Tuna and Mercury

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(CONSUMER REPORTS) – For pregnant women who eat seafood, it would be wise to note that not all fish is safe.

This includes canned tuna and even sushi. These products contain high levels of mercury, which can damage the baby’s brain and nervous system. Many varieties have been known to contain high levels of mercury.

Consumer Reports analyzed the FDA’s research and can tell you which fish are safe and which you should avoid. The government advises young children and women who are pregnant, or breast-feeding to avoid the four fish with the highest mercury levels. These include: Swordfish, Shark, King Mackerel, and Tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico. The FDA is also considering adding Marlin and Orange Roughy to the list as well. Tuna is also a fish that has experts worried.

Tuna is responsible for 40% of our mercury exposure. Higher levels were found in canned tuna, fresh tuna, and sushi. Ways to avoid this exposure are that pregnant women not eat tuna at all. Anyone else who does eat tuna, should limit the amount they intake. Experts say that there are several other better choices for seafood: Wild and Alaska Salmon (canned or fresh), shrimp, sardines, tilapia, scallops, oysters, and squid.

This does not necessarily mean for people to skip the fish altogether. Food experts agree that, fish with lower levels of mercury can also be high in other health benefits, like protein and omega-3 fatty acids.