The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have issued advisories to pregnant women and others regarding hazards of eating commercially available fish that may be contaminated with mercury.
The EPA advisory regarded fish from non-commercial sources such as freshwater fish caught and eaten by subsistence and recreational fishermen. EPA is recommending that women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, nursing mothers and young children, limit consumption of such fish to one meal per week with six ounces of cooked fish per adult and two ounces of cooked fish per child.
Freshwater fish in water contaminated with mercury sometimes accumulate the toxic substance in their tissue, with higher amounts generally found in larger fish.
A report issued by the National Academy of Sciences in July 2000 showed babies of women who consumed large amounts of fish when pregnant are at greater risk for changes in their nervous system that can affect their ability to learn.