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Expectant Moms, Parents, and Everyone Else Should Read This!

2014 June 13

By Jessica Orquina

I never thought much about mercury in fish. I like seafood, and have heard there may be some health concerns, but I didn’t really give it much thought. Then, I became pregnant and started reading all the information I could find about health and nutrition for expectant mothers, including about mercury in fish.

I learned that eating fish with high levels of mercury may harm an unborn baby or young child’s developing nervous system. I also learned what types of fish have higher and lower levels of mercury so I could focus my diet on those fish that were safer to eat.

Last fall, my son was born, and now I’m back at work. I was interested to learn EPA has been working with FDA to recommend new draft advice for fish consumption. In the past, our advice was based solely on the health concerns caused by eating fish with high levels of mercury. The new recommendations still consider that issue, but they also look at the health benefits of eating seafood.

I strongly urge you to read the new draft advice (Fish: What Pregnant Women and Parents Should Know), share your thoughts with us, and adjust your family’s diet accordingly. While mercury consumption is a big concern for expectant mothers and young children, it can affect everyone’s health.

So, take a minute and read this document. I did.

About the author: Jessica Orquina works in the Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education as the social media lead for the agency. Prior to joining EPA, she served as a military and commercial airline pilot. She lives, works, and writes in Washington, DC.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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4 Responses leave one →
  1. permalink
    June 16, 2014

    I think pregnant women and parents should know that eating fish with high levels of mercury may harm an unborn baby. But how to learn what types of fish have higher levels of mercury?

  2. Jessica - EPA permalink*
    June 16, 2014

    Hi! Yes, it is important to know what types of fish have higher levels of mercury. There is a chart on this website:

  3. permalink
    June 16, 2014

    Hi Jessica,
    Thank you very much !

  4. June 18, 2014

    There was perhaps more awareness, if not the start of awareness, about the dangers of mercury 40 years ago. In 1972, LIFE magazine published a photo essay about mercury poisoning in Minamata, Japan. That essay in LIFE is mostly forgotten now but at the time, the photos were widespread and shocking — in particular the photo of the woman bathing her poisoned daughter’s crippled body.

    But coming at the height of the environmental movement, the photos also helped raise awareness about pollution — mercury as well as pollution in general. Small scans of the photos by are at this location

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