Mercury in Food as a Human Health Hazard

The AAFP supports the continued testing and reporting levels of mercury in seafood by appropriate local, state, and national agencies. Family physicians are encouraged to be knowledgeable about, and tell their patients of, the dangers and benefits of eating various types of freshwater and ocean seafood. In particular, the developing fetus and young child are at greater risk of harm from significant mercury exposure. Family physicians are in a position to recommend healthy choices regarding various types of seafood, including that which is caught and sold locally. Consumption guidelines for various populations, particularly pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as children and adults, should be made readily available in a consumer-friendly format by the Environmental Protection Agency and/or the Food and Drug Administration and should point out the relative mercury content of various species, in order to maximize benefit and minimize risk of consuming seafood. (2007) (2012 COD)