We hear a lot about what’s good and bad for us in our food. At times, it seems we are so inundated with information that it’s hard to know what to believe. One of the rumors you’ve probably heard concerns mercury in tuna. Is this really dangerous? So many people are unsure about the answer that this has become a fishing charter FAQ. Let’s get to the bottom of this with some quick facts.
What is mercury?
Mercury is a chemical element. It is naturally-occurring and can be found in the earth’s crust, in both rocks and deposits of coal.
How does mercury get in my tuna?
Mercury is emitted from industrial plants that burn fossil fuels. Through air pollution, it makes its way into lakes, rivers and oceans.
Is mercury dangerous?
In short, yes—mercury is highly toxic. Young children are especially susceptible to its effects due to their still-developing nervous system. Mercury can potentially harm their heart, lungs, kidneys and brain. High levels of mercury exposure can damage these systems in people of all ages. However, the EPA reports mercury can be safely consumed in small amounts.
Is all tuna contaminated with mercury?
Tuna is available in two main varieties. Canned white, or albacore tuna, contains 0.32 parts per million of mercury. The EPA recommends that children under six have no more than one 3-ounce portion of this tuna per month. Children ages six to 12 can have two 4.5-ounce portions per month, and adults (including pregnant women) can eat 6-ounce portions up to three times a month.
Canned light tuna, at 0.12 parts per million of mercury, is the safer choice. The EPA reports that children under six can have up to three 3-ounce portions of canned light tuna per month. For anyone over six years old, it is safe to have once a week.
How can I avoid mercury poisoning?
If you stick to the recommended quantities of tuna consumption, your body should be able to keep up with the ingestion and removal of mercury through your system. Your metabolism should do its job and rid your body of any small amounts of harmful toxins in the food.
What should I do if I’ve been eating too much tuna?
If you are concerned about the level of mercury in your diet, simply reduce the amount of tuna you eat, or switch to light tuna. Consult with your doctor to perform blood work to determine whether you have a dangerous amount of mercury in your system.
Where Can I Find a Tuna Expert?
If you have additional tuna or fishing charter FAQs, contact the experts at Sea Wife Charters. Our experienced and knowledgeable team is happy to answer any other questions you have about tuna and other seafood options. We can also help you learn safe ways to catch, clean and eat a variety of fish. To speak with one of our helpful staff or to schedule your next educational fishing charter, contact us today—we look forward to helping you!