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New research finds foul fish. (Updates).

From Hong Kong to San Francisco, scientists have uncovered new evidence that diets high in ocean fish such as tuna and swordfish can lead to high blood mercury levels. Dr. Jane Hightower of the California Pacific Medical Center recently published the results of a yearlong study, which found that patients who regularly consumed fish had elevated blood levels of toxic mercury, called methylmercury. Eighty-nine percent of the people had mercury levels exceeding the five parts per billion recognized as safe by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Academy of Sciences.

A separate survey of Hong Kong high school students found that as many as 10 percent have a mercury exposure above that which is recommended as safe by The World Health Organization because of diets high in tuna and swordfish.

Significant mercury exposure can cause brain and nervous system damage (see "Heavy Metal Harm," cover story, May/June 2002). In November 2002, the New England Journal of Medicine published two reports on the long-term effects of mercury exposure on the heart. While one study reported no explicit link, another found that those who had suffered a heart attack had higher mercury levels. CONTACT: Mercury Policy Project, (802)223-9000, www
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Author:Khamsi, Roxanne
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Mar 1, 2003
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