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Study Raises New Concerns About Mercury in Tuna
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Study Raises New Concerns About Mercury in Tuna

Your Health

Study Raises New Concerns About Mercury in Tuna

Study Raises New Concerns About Mercury in Tuna
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A new study from Consumer Reports recommends that pregnant women refrain from eating any canned tuna of any type. Previously, it was believed that light tuna had lower mercury content.

The magazine's study found that although most of the cans of light tuna it tested did have less mercury than white tuna, some had at least as much of the harmful chemical element as white tuna — and in some cases, significantly more.

As a result, the magazine's experts conclude: "[T]here's enough uncertainty about the safety of even brief exposure of the fetus to such higher mercury levels that a more cautious approach is warranted."

Urvashi Rangan, a toxicologist for the study, talks to Melissa Block about the magazine's findings.

How Much Tuna Is It Safe for You to Eat?

Consumer Reports' fish-safety experts make the following recommendations for consumption of canned tuna.

Pregnant women: The magazine's experts say it's prudent for pregnant women to avoid canned tuna entirely.

Young children (up to about 45 pounds): About one-half to one 6-ounce can (roughly 4.5 ounces drained) of chunk-light tuna per week, or up to one-third of a can of solid-light or white, depending on the child's weight.

Women of child-bearing age who aren't pregnant: Mercury can linger in the body after you stop eating fish, so these women are advised to eat no more than about three chunk-light cans per week, or one can of solid-light or white tuna.

Older children: For children 45 pounds to 130 pounds, no more than one to three cans of chunk-light tuna per week, depending on their weight, or one-third to one can of solid-light or white tuna per week.

Men and older women: The same weekly intake that's considered safe for women of child-bearing age who are not pregnant — roughly three cans of chunk-light tuna or one can of solid-light or white. They can likely eat more than that without harm, but the exact amounts are not known.

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