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Amber Valletta on Preventing Mercury Exposure
Date:5/9/2008

WASHINGTON, May 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Oceana, an international ocean conservation group based in Washington, D.C., has been working to prevent seafood contamination for many years. Consuming big fish high on the food chain is the primary way that we are exposed to mercury, a heavy metal that can cause neurological and other health problems.

In honor of Mother's Day, Oceana celebrity spokes-Mom Amber Valletta offers a few tips for keeping your family mercury-free (and worry-free):

-- Choose low-mercury fish--fish that are small and low on the food chain.

Because mercury bioaccumulates up the marine food chain, small fish such

as tilapia and cod and shellfish such as shrimp, crab and oysters have

low mercury levels. The Washington State Department of Health has a

very handy pocket guide to mercury levels in fish

(http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/images/fishchart-v2.jpg).

-- Limit fish consumption to 12 ounces a week for kids and women,

especially if you're thinking about getting pregnant. Because

mercury is a neurotoxin that can affect children, babies and fetuses at

lower doses than adults, it's most important for kids and women who

are pregnant, nursing or may become pregnant to avoid high-mercury fish.

Keep in mind that your body can take a while to excrete mercury that you

consumed before you got pregnant, so if there's any chance you may

become pregnant soon, it's best to be cautious about mercury in

fish.

-- Choose "chunk light tuna" or canned wild Alaska salmon over

"solid white albacore tuna." The average level of mercury in

cans of chunk light tuna, usually skipjack tuna, tested by the Food and

Drug Administration, was about one third the average mercury level in

the cans of albacore the FDA tested. If your family can adjust, you

might try switching to canned salmon, instead of tuna, which has tested

even lower in mercury and higher in healthy Omega-3s. For more

information, check out Oceana's page about mercury in canned fish

(http://www.oceana.org/north-america/what-we-do/stop-seafood-contaminati

on/the-problem/protect-your-family/canned-fish).

-- Tell your grocery store to post signs containing the FDA advice

(http://takeaction.oceana.org/t/3042/content.jsp?content_KEY=3056) about

mercury for women of child-bearing age and children at their seafood

counters. Oceana has persuaded nearly 30% of U.S. grocery stores to

post this information but they're working to get even more on

board. If your grocery store were posting this information, you

wouldn't need to read my tips!

-- To help keep all of our kids mercury-free, donate to Oceana's

Campaign to Stop Seafood Contamination. They are working to reduce

mercury pollution released into the environment and to educate the

public about mercury in seafood.

For more specifics about Oceana's campaign, go to

http://www.oceana.org/north-america/what-we-do/stop-seafood-contaminati on/

Amber Valletta file photo:

http://www.oceana.org/fileadmin/oceana/uploads/mercury/Valletta-Oceana. JPG

Amber Valletta biography:

http://www.oceana.org/north-america/what-we-do/stop-seafood-contaminati on/media-resources/amber-valletta/


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SOURCE Oceana
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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