Mercury is a chemical that has been around for a long time. It can cause nervous system changes including irritability, difficulties with memory, difficulties with concentration, and kidney damage. Try to picture the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland.
Children are exposed to mercury daily, but typically at low and insignificant levels, even when added up cumulatively. This amount increases greatly for those children ingesting large amounts of contaminated fish like shark, swordfish, mackerel, and tile fish. Contrary to belief, Thimerosol, a mercury containing preservative, has been proven NOT to cause any developmental problems, including Autism. Regardless, the only Thimerosol containing vaccine is the yearly flu vaccine that only contains minute amounts.
What Can You Do?
- Do not eat fish known to contain high levels of mercury.
- Eat up to 12 oz. (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, Pollock, and catfish. Fish sticks and other “fast food” fish sandwiches are generally made from these healthier fish (although we do not recommend eating “fast food”). Albacore (white) Tuna has more mercury than canned Light Tuna.
- Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. If no advice is available, eat up to 6 oz. (one average meal) per week of the fish you catch from local waters. But do not consume any other fish that week.