Avoiding Mercury in Fish - Topic Overview
Should a woman who is not planning a pregnancy be concerned?
Mercury accumulates in your bloodstream over time and
slowly leaves the body through urine, feces, and breast milk. If you eat a lot
of fish high in mercury, it may take up to a year for your mercury levels to
drop after you stop eating the fish. If you decide to become pregnant or if you have
an unplanned pregnancy, you may have high levels of mercury. While elevated
levels of mercury usually do not cause significant health problems, they may
affect a developing
fetus. If you are of childbearing age, try to follow
the guidelines above when you eat fish.
Where can you get more information?
- The amount of mercury in commercial fish, see
- The fish or shellfish caught by family and friends in your
local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas, see
For general information on mercury in fish, see:
- Your local health department or environmental agency.
- The EPA mercury website at www.epa.gov/mercury/exposure.htm.
- The FDA seafood website at www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/Product-SpecificInformation/Seafood/default.htm.