Mercury rising

The journal Environmental Research published a study investigating the effects of fish consumption on children’s health. It confirmed that regular fish intake is responsible for increased levels of mercury in the blood. Even though the levels of fish-consuming children were below the potential risk level, researchers found that they had disrupted hormone (adrenocortical) function that may result in the development of physical and psychological disorders. These fish-consuming children also had elevated markers of inflammation, which are a sign of the body’s emergency response in trying to fight infection. The authors also pointed out that children are more sensitive to environmental pollutants than adults and this is a first study of its kind. The results will probably have broad public health implications.

Gump, B.B., MacKenzie, J.A., Dumas, A.K., et al., 2012. Fish consumption, low-level mercury, lipids, and inflammatory markers in children. Environmental Research. 112: 204-211.