Moderate Fish Consumption Poses health Risks?

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Pressure is mounting on the US federal government to require mercury warnings at the grocery store fish counter. The catalyst is a report, commissioned by two environmental groups, suggesting there is enough mercury in some fish to pose risks to even moderate fish consumers.

The two groups, Oceana and the Mercury Policy Project, take issue with recent mercury reports from the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis (HCRA), which they say were funded by the tuna industry and other fishing interests.

The report release coincides with an international Seafood and Health Conference in Washington, D.C. sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Fisheries Ministries of Norway, Iceland and Canada.

Dozens of conservation organizations in the U.S. and Europe have registered formal complaints about the conference due to the scant attention to mercury risks in the agenda.

“Several lines of evidence clearly demonstrate that mercury in fish represents a real and significant public health problem,” said Dr. Edward Groth, the report’s author.

“Roughly 12 million people who rank in the top 5 percent for fish consumption are potentially at risk for elevated mercury exposure.”

“Recent news suggesting that FDA/EPA advice could ‘do more harm than good’ missed the most important finding in the HCRA study: it showed that if current FDA/EPA advice were properly communicated and followed, mercury’s detrimental effects would be avoided without any loss of nutritional benefits.”

The report offers six key findings: