Filed Under: Food Scares Seafood

School of Fish (Thought) Swims Back To Common Sense

If you’ve been reading the news lately, and you’re pregnant, you’d almost be forgiven for thinking that fish was safe to eat again. (Guess what? It always was.) Evidence continues to pile up that scaring women away from the seafood counter during their child-bearing years is nothing short of public health malpractice.
In the spring, a small study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that women who ate more than two servings of fish per week during pregnancy had kids who performed better on tests of verbal, visual and motor development. Since two weekly servings of fish is the maximum our federal government’s health advisory permits for pregnant women, it seems the best way to protect our children is to ignore that advice.
And now, a truly huge studyappearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that “children whose mothers ate the most fish during pregnancy were more likely to have better motor and cognitive skills.” Harvard researchers studied more than 25,000 children and the pregnancy diets of their mothers. As The Washington Post reported Tuesday:

The more fish a woman eats [during pregnancy], the better her infant’s physical and cognitive abilities are. Infants whose mothers ate fish were able to sit, talk and walk sooner than infants whose mothers didn’t eat fish.

Add to this the sobering news in our recent report, “Tuna Meltdown: How Green Groups and the Federal Government Put America’s Poorest Children at Risk.” Using data from independent sources, we found that between 2000 and 2006 more than 250,000 children were born into the poorest U.S. households where women weren’t eating any fish. (Click here to download the report.)
Evidence goes in. Conclusions come out. Two in particular are coming more and more sharply into focus.
First, despite trace levels of mercury that have always been present in vanishingly tiny levels, eating generous amounts of fish during pregnancy doesn’t harm developing fetuses. It helps them.
And second, those responsible for whipping up needless fear about mercury in the first place — namely federal government regulators and environmental activists — put a national food scare in motion that has ended up hurting America’s poorest children.
We call ‘em like we see ‘em.

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