Pregnant? Be Wary of Tuna and Big Fish

[ 0 ] April 18, 2014 |

pregnant womanA recent study found that the FDA only inspects .1 percent of the fish we eat – and some is turning up radioactive, posing a real threat to pregnant women

Stories about radioactive Japanese tuna in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima meltdown showing up 6,000 miles away on California’s shores put my family off sushi for a while. But if you’re pregnant, this is a story you should follow.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the radiation was nothing to worry about in the United States, since you’d have to eat pounds of the stuff before being affected. But according to a 2011 Government Accountability Study, the FDA only inspects .1 percent of the fish we import for consumption—meaning the FDA might not know what’s in the other 99.99 percent. And, as of March of 2014, scientists were still tracking fish swimming in Japan’s tainted waters to find out if certain fish will ever be safe to eat again.

Related: The Dangers of Genetically Modified Food

And according to Consumer Reports, 80 percent of the fish we eat comes from other countries where, “about half of that is farmed fish, which may contain disease-causing bacteria, residues of antibiotics and other drugs and chemicals.”


Rachel Sarnoff

Regardless of where they come from, if you’re pregnant, you need to know that most big fish — including yellow fin tuna, which is more common in the United States — contain mercury, a neurotoxic byproduct of coal production. The scary thing about mercury, besides the fact that it damages the brain and central nervous system, is that it stays in the body and can be passed on to our kids through pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Related: Breastfeeding and Formula Go Hand-in-Hand, Guilt Free

Resources like the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Guide make finding safer fish choices easier than ever, but you may want to consider additional protein sources while you’re pregnant or nursing.

Related: Protect Your Baby From These Dangerous Products

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Category: Health, Women's Health

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About Rachel Sarnoff: Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff blogs as, founded, appeared on “Today” and “CNN,” is the former Executive Director of Healthy Child Healthy World & was Editor-in-Chief of Children magazine—before she had kids. She lives in [...]
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