Tuna is the most popular fish in the U.S., but pregnant tuna lovers have been in limbo about whether or not it's okay to indulge their craving. All fish contain traces of the toxin methyl mercury -- some more than others. And high levels of mercury in the bloodstream of fetuses and young children can harm their nervous system.
The FDA had released prior guidelines about safe fish intake, but the latest recommendations finally address tuna. Women of childbearing age, pregnant and nursing women, and children may:
* Eat up to 12 ounces a week of canned light tuna and other low-mercury fish, such as salmon, shrimp, catfish, pollock, and fish sticks.
* Eat up to 6 ounces of fresh or canned albacore (white) tuna. They have more mercury than light tuna.
* Eat up to 6 ounces of locally caught fish.
* Avoid large fish, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish, which have the most mercury.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, June 2004.
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