Study on mercury in seafood...

The friendliest place on the web for anyone that enjoys cooking.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.


Senior Cook
Feb 4, 2003
Thought perhaps some folks here will find this Lancet article interesting:

No detectable risk from mercury in seafood, study shows

An exhaustive study of 643 children from before birth to 9 years of age shows no detectable risk from the low levels of mercury their mothers were exposed to from eating ocean seafood, according to a study in the May 16 issue of The Lancet.
Children born to mothers-to-be who ate an average of 12 meals of fish a week – about 10 times the average U.S. citizen eats – showed no harmful symptoms.

The study by scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center is the latest in a series of updates on children who have been studied since their birth in 1989 and 1990 in the Republic of the Seychelles, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. The children have been evaluated five times since their birth, and no harmful effects from the low levels of mercury obtained by eating seafood have been detected.
What I'm wondering is, how they got all those women to consume so much fish when everyone makes such a big thing about eating foods that contain mercury during pregnacy. It must've been a hell of a lot of money eh?
I doubt that much attention is given to pollutants of any kind inthe Republic of the Seychelles, an island nation in the Indian Ocean

Being a very poor group of people, seafood from the surrounding waters is most readily available and affordable, constituting a major part of their diet.

The article simply points up the FACT that most of these frightening statements about pollutants, etc., are grossly overstated.

In the case of mercury in seafood, it is worth considering that dolphins and the various pinnipeds (seals, etc) eat vastly more of "contaminated" seafood than any human, yet suffer no appreciable brain damage as a result. Their being mammmals, like us, such damage should be noticeable in such highly intelligent animals.
A point I would like to better understand is,whatr kind of fish were these people eating. As I was told and read,some fish like sawardfish,shark,etc. have been found to have high levels mercury. How about crabs,lobester,squid. I use much of these type of fishes in my type of cooking.Although hearing all of these reports on mercury pollutants is very concerning I still havent changed my cooking habits.who to beiive,which reports are correct. Being a Italian American chef for quite a number of years,I have heard about a number of foods which were said to be bad to consume,only to be refutted later on. There are so manny factors and combonations of things we consume that cause medical problems.Have have they all been concidered in comming to a true finding. Chef Victor
Hi Chef Victor - I think there will forever be conflicts when it comes to mercury in fish - kind of like how to put a newborn down to is forever changing. However, high levels of mercury in your system to cause problems - tingling extremities and ringing in ears. To fetuses, it affects their nervous sytem.

Tile fish, Swordfish, Mackeral, and Shark are among the fish with the highest levels of mercury. People who eat canned tuna fish 3 times a month or more show higher levels of mercury; salmon more than 4 times a month; swordfish more than once a month; and then there's halibit, ahi, sea bass, and sushi.

I read that they now think the mercury is these fish is a different kind of mercury - in that it is not as "bad". (this was taken from an August 2003 article). It is suggested that children under 7 not consume a lot of these fish but if you are pregnant just keep your consumption down to 2 6 oz. a week as the unborn baby CAN be affected.

When I lived in Vermont one lake in particular had a higher level of mercury and we were told not to eat the fish out of it.

So far, So good......... the only thing I have is really curly hair :roll:

I'm just as clueless as I was before I started checking out articles - and especially on the WWW as sometimes there are no dates attached to these articles.

They say though that if you do have higher levels of mercury in your system from eating mercury-tained fish more often you can reduce this level by simply avoiding these fish for about 4-6 months and your body will recover. I won't change my fish-eating habits yet or what fish I do eat - unless I know in a big way that I am hurting myself, i.e., smoking and lung cancer. (but that's easy for me to say because I've never smoked but I am quite addicted to sushi- so we'll see....)

Thanks for stopping by!

Latest posts

Top Bottom