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Consumer Reports Tests Mercury Levels In Tuna

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(Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

(Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

CBS Pittsburgh (con't)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Canned tuna is America’s favorite fish, but regrettably, it’s also been the most common source of mercury in our diets.

Consumer Reports’ latest tests show that there’s still cause for concern.

Jodi Seubert is expecting her third child and she isn’t eating tuna because she’s concerned about possible mercury contamination.

“Things you put in your body will, you know, affect the growth and development of your baby’s brain, of their bones, their whole body system, so I guess you think about that for your younger kids, too,” Seubert said.

“Some studies have linked even low-level mercury exposure in pregnant women and young children to subtle impairments in hearing, hand-eye coordination, and learning ability,” Dr. John Santa said.

Consumer Reports tested albacore and light tuna at an outside lab. They tested 42 samples in all.

“Every sample of tuna we tested had measurable levels of mercury. The tests confirm that for some people, such as pregnant women and children, they still need to limit the amount of tuna they eat,” Kim Kleman said.

The question then becomes, how much is too much?

If a pregnant woman ate one serving of albacore tuna that was tested by Consumer Reports, she would exceed the daily mercury intake deemed safe by the Environmental Protection Agency.

With about half the light tuna samples, eating about two servings would exceed the government limit.

“Our food safety experts recommend that pregnant women, as a precaution, should avoid canned tuna altogether,” Kleman said.

Children under 45 pounds shouldn’t eat more than one-and-a-half ounces of albacore tuna a week, or about four ounces of light tuna, provided no other mercury-containing seafood is consumed.

However, there is seafood consistently low in mercury that’s good for everyone to eat, such as clams, Alaskan salmon, shrimp and tilapia.

Consumer Reports said women of child-bearing age should eat no more than four ounces of albacore tuna a week.

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