Harvard Center for Risk Analysis explores this issue
Fish has been a staple of human nutrition in many cultures, but there has been some controversy recently about the benefits and risks of fish consumption. For example, fish supplies polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), substances that might protect against coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. On the other hand, fish supplies methyl mercury (MeHg), a compound implicated in impairment of cognitive development and IQ. How can the consumer decide whether to increase or decrease consumption? What steps should governments, public health authorities and commercial fishing industries take in response to these conflicting facts?
Joshua T. Cohen, PhD, of the Harvard School of Public Health, writes, "Because fish consumption confers both benefits and risks, the advisories issued by the U.S. federal government raise the possibility of a classic risk–risk trade-off: by avoiding one risk (exposure to MeHg), consumers who follow these advisories may be incurring another (adverse health consequences associated with lower n-3 PUFA intake). Likewise, individuals who increase their consumption of fish because of this foods nutritional benefits may incur risks associated with MeHg exposure."
Charlotte Seidman | EurekAlert!
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