April 21, 2010
TUNA SURPRISE: NEW STUDY FINDS THAT OVER ONE THIRD OF MERCURY EXPOSURE IS FROM TUNA
the United States. These key findings were published in a peer-reviewed paper by Dr. Edward Groth III, "Ranking the contributions of commercial fish and shellfish varieties to mercury exposure in the United States: Implications for risk communication," and appearing in the April 2010 issue of Environmental Research. San Francisco, CA - A new study ranking exposure risks from methylmercury finds that
tuna accounts for over one third of total mercury exposure from seafood
"Canned tuna is the number one fish product consumed in the U.S. today at just under 3 pounds per capita per year," said Michael Bender, director of the Mercury Policy Project. "Based on these new findings, tuna is also the number one mercury exposure risk."
contributes 37% of the total mercury in the seafood supply -- almost
six times as much as the combined total of the four highest
mercury-laden fish: swordfish, shark, king mackerel and Gulf tilefish,
according to the study.
"Eating tuna can be a toxic gamble, especially for pregnant women, mothers, babies and children," said Buffy Martin Tarbox, Campaign Coordinator for GotMercury.org, based in Forest Knolls, CA.
paper explains seafood varieties differ by over 120-fold in average
mercury content, so which fish you choose drives your mercury exposure.
For anyone who eats fish twice a week or more -- not just mothers-to-be
-- choosing low-mercury fish is an important health strategy.
Groth notes, "most consumers have no idea which fish are high in
mercury and should be avoided, or which are low in mercury and are safe
"light" tuna, the most popular fish in the American diet, has an
above-average mercury level, and some "light" tuna has even higher
levels. Canned albacore (white) tuna and tuna steaks have still higher
average mercury levels. "Women who are trying to minimize their
mercury exposure should avoid all forms of tuna," says Groth.
Groth's study also found that two-thirds of the seafood supply and nine
of the 11 most consumed fish and shellfish are low or very low in
mercury. So if consumers know what to pick, they can easily find
view an abstract of Dr. Groth's paper and also his chart grouping 51
fish varieties into six categories by mercury content, visit:
About GotMercury.org: The Gotmercury.org works to protect people and
the environment from mercury. Because of the ubiquitous nature of
mercury in the environment and because federal and state public health
agencies are not doing enough to raise public awareness and protect the
public from mercury, GotMercury.org developed the free online
mercury-in-fish calculators that have received millions of hits since
2002. For more information visit: www.gotmercury.org or