Euphoria’s Blog for Green Mamas

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Mercury, Fish and Pregnancy – The FDA Scandal December 18, 2008

Filed under: Pregnancy — Rachel @ 4:21 pm
Tags: , ,

Have you heard the latest sad story about corruption in the FDA?  Here’s an excerpt from the good folks at the Environmental Working Group:

On Friday, December 12, the Environmental Working Group made public internal government documents disclosing the Food and Drug Administration‘s secret plans to reverse federal warnings that pregnant women and children limit their fish intake to avoid mercury, a neurotoxin especially dangerous to the fetus and infants… The Washington Post broke the story, and other national stories followed.

Reaction from Capitol Hill was swift and sharp. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT., denounced the FDA: “Now, in the administration’s 11th hour, they are quietly trying to water down advisories for women and children about the dangers of mercury in fish, disregarding sound scienceon this issue. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin capable of impairing childhood development at very low levels.”

I read the full Washington Post story, and the whole situation is just sad.  The last thing that pregnant woman need is more ambiguity about what is or is not safe to consume while pregnant.  I absolutely agree that pregnant and nursing women (and young children – ok, all of us) should severely limit consumption of fish known to carry dangerous amounts of mercury.  In fact, after doing some research I didn’t eat tuna at all during those critical times.  And, now, I still don’t eat canned tuna because all tuna cans are lined with BPA-emitting plastic.  It’s just not worth a tuna sandwich!

It’s true that fish is a unique source of extremely important omega-3 fatty acids, which are rare in the average American diet.  These omega-3’s are important for brain growth.  BUT, you can provide these nutrients for your family with a high-quality fish oil supplement (we use Nordic Naturals), by eating wild-caught Alaskan salmon (which is unlikely to contain mercury) and by eating walnuts, another food packed with omega-3 fatty acids.

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