Mercury – Is it safe to eat fish everyday?

grilled salmon fish on rectangular black ceramic plate

Mercury is a natural element that is found in very small quantities in air, water and all living things. Mercury can find its way into food in a number of ways including: natural recycling, volcanic activity, burning of fossil fuels, and pollution. There has been an increased concern about mercury in seafood over the last decade which has caused unwarranted alarm about all seafood and general confusion about what is safe to eat. For most people, the risk from mercury by eating fish is not a health concern.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends consuming a daily maximum of 0.1 micrograms of mercury for each kilogram of your body weight. Mercury levels in fish are measured as parts per million (ppm).

  • Salmon: 0.022 ppm
  • Trout: 0.071 ppm
  • Hake: 0.079 ppm
  • Atlantic mackerel: 0.050 ppm
  • Sardines: 0.013 ppm
  • Tuna: 0.128 ppm

According to Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition and director of cardiovascular epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, eating fish every day is perfectly safe, provided you stick to variety and choose fish low in mercury.

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