Mercury Levels in Fish

Mercury in the fish we like to eat is a big problem in the United States and increasingly around the world.

mercuryinfish

Mercury itself is a naturally occurring element that is present throughout the environment and in plants and animals. But human industrial activity (such as coal-fired electricity generation, smelting and the incineration of waste) ratchets up the amount of airborne mercury and coal ash, which eventually finds its way into lakes, rivers and the ocean, where it is gobbled up by unsuspecting fish and other marine life (sourced from Scientific American). And, there are studies linking warmer water temperatures to greater levels of mercury in fish.

Know which fish are considered low risk, medium risk or high risk in association with Mercury levels:

Low Risk

Arctic Cod

Anchovies

Butterfish

Catfish

Clam

Crabfish/Crayfish

Croaker (Atlantic*)

Flounder*

Haddock (Atlantic*)

Hake

Herring

Mackerel (N. Atlantic, Chub)

Mullet

Oyster

Perch (Ocean)

Plaice

Pollock

Salmon (WILD-fresh or canned)

Sardine

Scallop*

Sole (Pacific)

Squid (Calimari)

Tilapia

Trout (Freshwater)

Whitefish

Whiting

Medium Risk

Bass (Striped, Black)

Carp

Cod (Alaskan*)

Croaker (white Pacific)

Halibut (Pacific, Atlantic*)

Jacksmelt (Silverside)

Lobster

Mahi Mahi

Monkfish*

Perch (Freshwater)

Sablefish

Skate*

Tuna (Canned Chunk Light, Skipjack*) Weakfish (Sea Trout)

High Risk

Bluefish

Grouper*

Mackerel (King, Spanish, Gulf)

Marlin*

Orange Roughy*

Seabass (Chilean*)

Shark*

Swordfish*

Tuna(Canned Albacore, Ahi*, Bigeye*, Yellowfin*)

Lately a controversial debate is growing: every bluefin tuna tested in the waters off California has shown to be contaminated with radiation that originated in FukushimaNational Geographic states this is not a concern because the amount is so low. Though many environmentalists state it is enough to raise concern.

*Overfished

Mercury Levels Source: Natural Resources Defense Council – nrdc.org

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