Fish and Mercury

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Why is mercury fish poisoning so important?

Fish and Mercury

Here are some facts about mercury poisoning that are worth knowing:

Recent studies report that across the United States, mercury pollution is known to have contaminated 30% of the total wetlands, lakes, and estuaries. This amounts to a mercury contamination of an astonishing 12 million acres. As far as streams, coasts, and rivers go – 473,000 miles contain mercury contamination. Plus, remember that this number pertains only to those streams, coasts, and rivers which have been tested. There are many other waterways which have not been tested.

At particular risk for mercury fish poisoning are those sport fishermen who eat their catch. That is, of course, if their catch was taken from a mercury contaminated body of water.

As recently as 2003, there were fish consumption advisories issued by 44 states to their citizens. The citizens were warned to limit their consumption of certain types of fish which were caught in the waters known for their mercury contamination.

Tuna is the most common source of mercury fish poisoning. It is not because tuna contain the highest levels of mercury, but simply because they are the most highly consumed out of the fish with mercury contamination. (Other mercury-laden fish include shark and swordfish).

If you are curious about the levels of potential mercury fish poisoning you are consuming, there is a wonderful calculator found on the National Research Defense Council's website (

Mercury levels in fish is a concern to all involved. It is an environmental, medical, and ecological concern.



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