Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Are Your Fish Safe To Eat?

Fish can be an excellent low fat source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients. It can also be a source of mercury and polycholorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Mercury can damage developing brains and nervous systems. Mercury is stored in our bodies so it is important that women who are even thinking about getting pregnant avoid high-mercury fish. For pregnant women, nursing mothers or young children, the FDA and EPA have advised eating no more than two or three meals, or 12 ounces total, of fish or shellfish a week. High-mercury fish to one serving per week and avoid Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel or Tilefish. Polycholorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are neurotoxic, hormone-disrupting chemicals that were banned in the United States in 1977. However, PCBs accumulate in animal fats and are still found in fish from polluted bodies of water. One of the best resources we have found is provided by Healthy Child Healthy World. They have a state by state advisory list and you can also find this information on the EPA website. For instance, on the North Carolina page, I learned that high mercury levels have been found in black crappie south and east of Interstate 95 and in blackfish, catfish, jack fish, warmouth and yellow perch south and east of Interstate 85.

Do you have a preschool or elementary age child? Check out this fun, interactive site to teach your children about what fish are safe?

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