Monday, July 30, 2007
1/4 Adults in NYC Found With Elevated Blood Mercury Levels
The issue with mercury in fish is bigger than people realize, especially if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
According to survey results released by the Heath Department 1/4 of adult New Yorkers have elevated blood mercury levels and the elevations are closely tied to fish consumption.
Asian and higher-income New Yorkers eat more fish, and have higher average mercury levels, than others both locally and nationally. These mercury levels pose little if any health risk for most adults, but may increase the risk of cognitive delays for children whose mothers had very high mercury levels during pregnancy.
These findings are the latest presented from New York City's Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NYC-HANES), the first such survey ever conducted by a U.S. city. It's possible that other cities have similarly high levels, or higher ones, but haven't yet documented them. Because mercury is a concern for the health of newborns, recommendations on mercury exposure are most important for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
In case you do not know which fish are low in mercury I have attached a poster that was produced by Health Bureau in Maine.
All fish have some levels of mercury in them. Some fish have more mercury than others. Fish that eat other fish, or fish that are long-lived tend to have more mercury than smaller less predatory fish.