Fish caught off the coast of the Lone Star State contain unsafe mercury levels, the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) warned Tuesday.
In the first consumption advisory issued by Texas since last September, when it warned the public not to eat Blue marlin caught in state coastal waters, the TDSHS said women of childbearing age, including women who are nursing and children under 12, should not consumer certain other species of fish caught off the coast.
The new advisory recommends women past childbearing age and men limit their consumption of fish from all waters off the Texas coast to no more than one or two meals per month. For purposes of the warnings, TDSHS figures a meal includes no more than an 8-ounce serving.
The advisory was issued after testing revealed that fish examined from the northwestern Gulf of Mexico contained mercury at concentrations that exceed TDSHS health guidelines of 0.7 mg/kg in the following species: shark (all species), black fin tuna, blue marlin, little tunny, crevalle jack, kind mackerel, swordfish and wahoo.
Texas health officials say regular or long-term consumption of fish with these mercury levels may result in severe adverse health effects.
Mercury is both a naturally occurring element and it a byproduct of human activity. If consumed on a regular basis, mercury can cause harm to the central nervous system, especially in children, among whom exposure begins before they are born.
Symptoms include liver damage, tingling of the skin, loss of coordination, visual and hearing impairment, slurred speech and brain and central nervous damage.
Women of childbearing age and children under 12 should not eat any of the listed species. Women past childbearing age and adult men should limit their intake of black fin tuna, blue marlin, little tunny, crevalle jack, king mackerel under 35 inches, all shark species and swordfish to two meals per month, according to the advisory. Meals of large king mackerel (over 35 inches) should be limited to one meal per month.
The new warning is significantly more severe than the September 2012 advisory that first recommended against eating Blue marlin.© Food Safety News