Fish

Texas has heightened its concern over mercury levels in fish being caught off the Gulf coast of the state, according to The Department of State Health Services, which made the announcement earlier this week.

Fish caught in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico region tested positive for mercury contamination levels that were in excess of Texas’ health guidelines. The species of concern include a number of popular fish: shark, blackfin tuna, blue marlin, little tunny, crevalle jack, king mackerel, swordfish and wahoo. According to Food Safety News, “fish examined from the northwestern Gulf of Mexico contained mercury at concentrations that exceed TDSHS health guidelines of 0.7 mg/kg.”

The state advisory warns women (not pregnant) and adult men limit their intake of fish from the region to two or fewer times per month. Pregnant women, children and the elderly should avoid the fish completely. Regular or long-term consumption of contaminated fish could result in severe health issues.

Mercury contamination can damage the nervous system of children, particularly when exposed before birth. Other health issues connected with mercury toxicity include: liver damage, tingling of the skin, loss of coordination, visual and hearing impairment, slurred speech and brain and central nervous damage.

This is the state’s first fish consumption advisory since September 2012 when officials warned against eating blue marlin caught in the state’s coastal regions.

Mercury contamination can be a result of industrial pollution and other elements that settle into the waters and enter the food supply.

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