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New FDA Seafood Advisory is Industry Giveaway

For Immediate Release: 
Monday, March 1, 2004

WASHINGTON — The coal and seafood industries' interests today beat out the health interests of America's children in the form of dangerous advice from the FDA on so-called "safe" consumption levels for fish contaminated with mercury, particularly tuna. Air pollution from coal burned in power plants is a major source of mercury in fish. If women follow the FDA's advice and eat one can of albacore tuna a week, hundreds of thousands more babies will be exposed to hazardous levels of mercury.

One out of every 56 cans of albacore tuna contains so much mercury that the Food and Drug Administration would have the authority to pull them off store shelves.

It has been three years since our organization caught the FDA suppressing evidence that women want clear, science-based information about what types of fish are safe and unsafe to eat when pregnant. After three years of bureaucratic wrangling, bungling and backpedaling, the FDA has actually made a bad situation worse, by encouraging consumption of albacore tuna at clearly unsafe levels. Currently, 8 percent of women of childbearing age have unsafe levels of mercury in their blood.

EWG has filed a legal challenge to the FDA advisory under the Data Quality Act. If necessary, we will pursue all legal options available to achieve a mercury advisory from the FDA that protects women and children from unsafe mercury exposure while also providing them comprehensive information on seafood that is not contaminated with hazardous levels of mercury.

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WEBLINK: Text of FDA's latest advice