A recent opinion column by Robert S. Shoemaker deceptively stated that “very small amounts of mercury have been found in fish.” While correct, it is also true that it takes only a very small amount of mercury exposure to poison a fetus in utero, resulting in permanent developmental disabilities.
If you are a pregnant woman, it is important to eat fish, which are an essential source of omega-3 fatty acids, but you need to choose fish that are lower in mercury, such as wild-caught salmon.
Numerous studies by universities, physicians and government agencies have established the dangers posed by mercury and how the consumption of too much high-mercury fish poses a health threat.
Here in the Yuba River watershed, nearly every water body that has been tested is listed as impaired due to mercury. For some fish species such as rainbow trout, it may be safe to eat one or two servings per week, but women and children should avoid bass and catfish.
The Sierra Fund is committed to providing scientifically sound information about high-mercury fish, particularly locally caught fish. For a longer version of this letter, including full references to back it up, visit http://reclaimingthesierra.org.
Amber Taxiera, community outreach coordinator
The Sierra Fund