Mercury in Fish Linked to Heart Disease in Men

By March 17, 2005Got Mercury?

San Francisco, CA – A new report by the Research Institute of Public Health in Finland shows a significant increase of heart disease in men with elevated mercury levels. Since seafood in the diet is the main source of human mercury exposure, men eating swordfish, shark, and tuna high in mercury may unknowingly be increasing their risk of an early death.

The research, published in Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, studied 1871 Finnish men between the age of 42 and 60 and shows an increased risk of more than 1.5 times for coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease and acute heart incidents in men with elevated mercury levels.

“Current federal guidelines and state warnings focus on the impact of mercury in seafood on children and women. This new information suggests that men who eat too much swordfish and tuna might be risking their lives. Until the warnings catch up to the research, men, women and children should avoid eating seafood high in mercury. There are other choices for a heart healthy diet,” says Andy Peri of the Turtle Island Restoration Network, an organization working to protect public health from mercury in seafood.

Mercury policy in the US has focused primarily on the health effects of mercury on developing fetuses and young children. Elevated development that can result in reduced motor skills, learning disabilities, memory, and attention deficit disorders. Fish consumers can calculate their mercury exposure by visiting an online mercury calculator at

The findings of this study are consistent with a study published in the November 28, 2002 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine which showed mercury levels to be directly associated with the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) and that high mercury content may diminish the cardioprotective effects of omega 3 fatty acids found in fish.

Both studies can be downloaded from:
contaminated fish including swordfish, shark and tuna.