Vegan Health ArticlesFish and Shellfish: Contamination Problems Preclude Inclusion in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
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From Spring 2004

High-Risk Populations

Women who may become pregnant, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and children are especially vulnerable to the effects of environmental toxins that accumulate in fish. Exposure to even low levels of methylmercury in utero can cause developmental problems and impairments in motor and visual integration. Other environmental toxins—such as dioxins, some of which are known carcinogens—are especially dangerous during fetal development and early childhood.16

According to a new study in the April issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, women are already eating too much fish; as a result, as many as one in six newborns has a mercury level above that considered safe by the EPA. The authors reviewed diet records and tested the mercury levels in blood of more than 1,700 women (from 1999-2000 NHANES data) and found that those who consumed fish or shellfish two or more times per week had blood mercury concentrations seven times higher than those who ate no fish in the previous month.21 Based on the distribution of blood mercury concentrations noted for various populations from this study and the number of U.S. births in 2000, the authors estimates that at least 300,000—and possibly as many as 630,000—newborns each year in the United States may have been exposed in utero to methylmercury concentrations sufficiently high to potentially cause neurodevelopmental problems.21

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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.