The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4195.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 3:30 PM

Abstract #73258

Mercury-contaminated fish: Government consumption advisories and other protective steps

Michael T. Bender, Mercury Policy Project, 1420 North St., Montpelier, VT 05602, 802-223-9000,

Increasingly, government health and environmental agencies are providing the public with consumption guidance on fish contaminated with methylmercury and health care professionals are being asked to provide information to their patients. This may be due, at least in part, to new data from the Centers for Disease Control indicating that one in 12 women of childbearing age in the United States have unsafe mercury levels in their bodies, based on actual representative sampling, translating into more than 300,000 children born each year potentially in exceedance of government safety levels. In January 2001, the Food and Drug Administration issued new consumer guidance warning pregnant women and children to not eat certain seafood, and limit consumption of others due to high mercury levels. In addition, forty-one states warn the public to limit or not consume certain freshwater fish and ten states now warn pregnant women, and in some cases children, to limit consumption of canned tuna, the most consumed fish in America, due to methylmercury contamination. Protective steps are also being considered or taken by the health care community and others. This presentation will explore the different approaches that are being taken to warn the public, and especially sensitive populations like pregnant women and young children, about mercury-contaminated fish.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Innovative Topics: Fish, Fats and Toxic Pollutants, Part II: Communicating Risks and Preventing Exposures

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA