Study finds excessive mercury in 20 percent of women of childbearing age

A new Greenpeace-commissioned study on the correlation between fish consumption and levels of mercury in the body has produced interim results, and they may cause you to think twice about your next order of a tuna-salad sandwich. The study analyzed hair samples sent in by people, many of whom read about the study on the internet [cough Grist! cough], who also reported on their average monthly consumption of canned tuna, locally caught fish, and fresh or frozen fish sold in stores and restaurants. Hair samples from some 1,449 people were analyzed for the interim results; eventually the number will reach 5,000. Roughly 20 percent of participating women of child-bearing age had mercury levels exceeding U.S. EPA recommendations, as did one-third of those who consumed canned tuna at least four times a week. Mercury, you will recall, is a neurotoxin that does bad, bad things to fetuses and young children.