Mercury in Fish

From time to time, there is media coverage on mercury found in fish. So what is mercury and what is the advice concerning eating fish?

Mercury is a heavy metal that occurs naturally in the environment. It can be released into the air and water as a result of volcanic eruptions and mining activities. Mercury collected in streams, lakes, and oceans can be turned into methylmercury which is readily taken up by living organisms in the water and accumulated up the food chain. Thus large predatory fish, such as swordfish, marlin and some types of tuna, may contain higher level of the chemical.

Since excessive intake of methylmercury can affect the developing nervous system, pregnant women, women planning pregnancy and young children should avoid consumption of large predatory fish. Members of the public are advised to maintain a balanced and varied diet with moderate consumption of a variety of fish as fish is an excellent source of many essential nutrients, such as omega-3-fatty acids and high quality proteins.

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