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Environmental connections to public health >>

Coastal Women Have Highest Mercury Levels

Wednesday, September 28, 2005
The Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin reports on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study that shows that U.S. women living near a coast have higher levels than women living inland. East Coast women averaged 7.7 parts per billion (ppb) of mercury in their blood and West Coast women averaged 4.7 ppb. Women living inland had an average mercury blood level of 2.4 ppb. EPA guidelines say levels higher than 33.5 ppb are a possible health threat.

Mercury harms the brain of developing children, which is why health officials aim to warn women of childbearing age to eat a variety of seafood and to limit consumption of high-mercury fish such as tuna.

Because it's hard for a one-size-fits-all health advisory to really tell a woman how much tuna she can eat, EWG used federal data to assemble our Tuna Calculator, where you can plug in your weight and find out how much tuna you can safely eat per week.

 

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