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Still Buy Mercury-Laden Fish? Here Are The Top 10 Best and Worst


It is well established that eating fish that contains mercury is hazardous to our health, especially for pregnant women and children. Yet, there is still no effort in any part of the world to develop governmental health advisories for mercury content levels in fish. Consider the following and think twice before ordering your next tuna sandwich.

Mercury contamination of all seafood is a widespread public health concern. In fact, pregnant women, children and women who might become pregnant should avoid the consumption of swordfish, tuna and orange roughy due to their high methyl-mercury content. In addition to being toxic for humans, swordfish and many other species of fish are being caught in ways that are devastating ocean habitats and fisheries. Longline fishing, the fishing method used to catch swordfish, kills thousands of sea turtles per year.

Below is top ten list of the best and worst offenders for mercury content in popular types of fish found at your local market and big box stores.

Top 10 Fish With The LOWEST Mercury Levels:

#10. Catfish .049 ppm (parts per million)
#9. Flounder .045 ppm
#8. Sole .045 ppm
#7. Anchovies .043 ppm
#6. Crawfish .033 ppm
#5. Haddock .031 ppm
#4. Sardine .016 ppm
#3. Hake .014 ppm
#2. Salmon .014 ppm
#1. Tilapia .010 ppm (best)


Top 10 Fish With The HIGHEST Mercury Levels:

#10. Halibut .252 ppm (parts per million)
#9. Ocean Trout .256 ppm
#8. Bluefish .337 ppm
#7. Bass .386 ppm
#6. Mackerel .454 ppm
#5. Grouper .465 ppm
#4. Marlin .485 ppm
#3. Orange Roughy .554 ppm
#2. Tuna (Bigeye) .639 ppm
#1. Swordfish .976 ppm (worst)

Mercury concentration values used for this calculator come from the United States Food and Drug Administration website. A full list of mercury levels in all types of fish and seafood can be found here http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~frf/sea-mehg.html.

Please be aware that these values are averages. Concentrations of mercury may vary between species and locations caught. For example, ocean water trout can contain almost four times the amount mercury as fresh water trout.

Besides mercury levels, it's essential that you also identify where and how your fish is caught and raised. For example, farm-raised salmon contain significantly more dioxins and other potentially cancer-causing pollutants than do salmon caught in the wild. Studies have concluded that eating more than a meal of farm-raised salmon per month, depending on its country of origin, could slightly increase the risk of getting cancer later in life.

Since farmed fish makes up half of the world's consumption of seafood, it is definitely in your best interest to ensure your sources before you buy.


Reference Sources 143
December 14, 2010


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