NFI warns media, public on Brown mercury study


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
November 28, 2012

The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) is urging anyone, including media outlets, who is studying the results of a recent Brown University study on the links between pollutants like mercury poisoning from eating seafood and health problems to not take the study at face value.

In a statement, the NFI called analysis of the study out of context of other science related to the subject “incomplete, misleading and negligent.”

In particular, the NFI statement noted the Brown study found 9.7 percent of women participating in the study showed elevated levels of mercury in their blood, and indicated the elevation came from consumption of fish.

The NFI urged readers of the study, and media coverage of it, to consider other studies which note that those same women are also likely benefiting from Omega-3 fatty acids.

The NFI cited two such studies, one from Harvard University and another published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which concluded that either the mercury in question posed no significant health risks to women, or that the health benefits from eating seafood outweighed the mercury risks.

“Women do not consume mercury in a vacuum—when it comes from fish it is accompanied by Omega-3 fatty acids—period,” The NFI wrote in a statement.

The NFI statement cited reports from “red-faced media outlets” that inaccurately indicated ADHD may be caused by pregnant women eating too much seafood. The NFI said that those outlets soon had to correct their stories when further research revealed the opposite was true.

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