Mercury in Seafood

Effects of prenatal and postnatal methylmercury exposure from fish consumption on neurodevelopment: outcomes at 66 months of age in the Seychelles Child Development Study. 1998. Davidson et al. Journal of American Medical Association, 280 (8): 701-7.

A total of 711 children were studied over 66 months for cognitive development in The Republic of Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean where 85% of the population consumes ocean fish daily. No adverse outcomes at 66 months were associated with either prenatal or postnatal MeHg exposure. In the population studied, consumption of a diet high in ocean fish appears to pose no threat to developmental outcomes through 66 months of age.Click here to see this article.

Cognitive deficit in 7-year-old children with prenatal exposure to methylmercury. 1997. Granjean et al. Neurotoxicology Tetratology 19 (6): 417-28

A total of 917 children were studied in the Faroe Islands and underwent detailed neurobehavioral examination at seven years of age. Clinical examination and neurophysiological testing did not reveal any clear-cut mercury-related abnormalities. However, mercury-related neuropsychological dysfunctions were found in the domains of language, attention, and memory, and to a lesser extent in visuospatial and motor functions. Click here to see this article.

Fish intake, contaminants, and human health: evaluating the risks and the benefits. 2006. Mozafarian, D. and Rimm, E. Journal of American Medical Association. 296 (15): 1885-99.

Authors undertook a major review of seafood consumption studies and found that even modest consumption of fish reduced the coronary risks by 36%. For major health outcomes among adults, based on both the strength of the evidence and the potential magnitudes of effect, the benefits of fish intake exceed the potential risks. For women of childbearing age, benefits of modest fish intake, excepting a few selected species, also outweigh risks. Click here to see this article.

Decline in Fish Consumption Among Pregnant Women After a National Mercury Advisory. 2003. Emily Oken, MD, Ken P. Kleinman, ScD, Wendy E. Berland, MPH, Steven R. Simon, MD, MPH, Janet W. Rich-Edwards, ScD, and Matthew W. Gillman, MD, SM. Obstet Gynecol. 102(2): 346–351.

Authors observed a diminished consumption of dark meat fish, canned tuna, and white meat fish after the national mercury advisory. These decreases resulted in a reduction in total fish consumption of approximately 1.4 servings per month after dissemination of federal recommendations. Because these fish may confer nutritional benefits to mother and infant, public health implications of these changes remain unclear. Click here to see this article.

Mercury in Fish: Two Views. Article in the NY Times about risks and benefits of fish consumption from Dr. Dariush Mozafarian and Dr. Philippe Grandjean

Comments from opposite scientific camps about the risks and benefits of seafood consumption. Click here to see this article.