Following criticism from the Environmental Working Group, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will order an independent scientific review of its advisories for pregnant women about eating fish. Although widely regarded as a healthful, some fish can concentrate mercury in their fatty tissues. When eaten by pregnant women, the mercury can cause brain damage in developing fetuses. The FDA’s warnings suggest that pregnant women should not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish, but okays the consumption of moderate quantities — up to 12 ounces per week — of other species, including tuna. On Friday, the Environmental Working Group, which says tuna contains sufficient mercury to be a health hazard, accused the FDA of caving to industry pressure and watering down its advice on tuna. The FDA denies that charge and says the advisories are based on sound science.

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