What should I know about eating fish that might contain mercury or other pollutants? Where can I find information about eating fish caught in a particular body of water?
To enjoy the benefits of eating fish while minimizing exposure to mercury, you should eat mainly types of fish low in mercury and limit your consumption of types of fish with typically higher levels of mercury.
Fish are important in a healthy diet. They are a lean, low-calorie source of protein. However, some fish may contain methylmercury or other harmful chemicals at sufficiently high levels to be a concern. Federal, state and local governments issue fish consumption advisories when the fish are unsafe to eat. The advisories may suggest that people avoid eating certain kinds or certain amounts of fish.
- Some advisories apply to specific water bodies (like lakes).
- Some may focus on groups of particularly sensitive people.
- Some advisories include notices of "no restriction" to tell us that certain fish are safe to eat.
As states increase the waters they monitor for contaminated fish, both the number of advisories, and the waters where it is safe to eat fish, are increasing.
If you are concerned for your health or your family's as a result of exposure to mercury, get in touch with your health care provider. They will be able to tell you if mercury exposure is a problem for you and what to do about it.
- General information from EPA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about mercury in fish and shellfish: http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/fishshellfish/outreach/advice_index.cfm
- Fish Consumption Advisories website: http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/fishshellfish/fishadvisories/general.cfm
- Advisories for particular waterbodies, by state: http://fishadvisoryonline.epa.gov/General.aspx (interactive map)
- Tutorial on using the map http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/fishshellfish/fishadvisories/general.cfm#start
- Information on seafood from FoodSafety.gov: http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/types/seafood/index.html
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- Topic #: 23002-24361
- Date Created: 11/8/2004
- Last Modified Since: 4/10/2013
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