Press Release

NYC Health Department Should Encourage New Yorkers To Keep Eating Fish

Washington -– Responding to mercury test results released by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) pointed out today that the blood mercury levels of New Yorkers are indicators of good health.

Nutritionists since 2000 have observed that Americans would need to increase their fish intake by a factor of four in order to get enough omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. It appears New Yorkers are closer to that goal than people in other states. And the trace levels of mercury that come along with omega-3s in fish are too small to justify health worries.

CCF Director of Research David Martosko said: “This fish scare is likely to cause a tremendous amount of harm. Scaring New Yorkers away from sushi bars is public health malpractice. Fish is a health food. Period.”

The average blood mercury levels among New Yorkers was 2.73 micrograms per liter of blood (2.73 µg/L). By comparison, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets a “Reference Dose” of 5.8 µg/L, and this recommended dose has a built-in safety cushion of 1,000 percent.

In other words, the lowest levels of mercury associated with adverse health effects in the scientific literature is 58.0 µg/L. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has produced no evidence that any New Yorkers’ mercury levels are anywhere near this high. In addition, the medical literature does not contain a single case of fish-related mercury poisoning among Americans.

Also today, CCF released Seafood Science Since Madison, a report detailing the wealth of reassuring (but seldom-hyped) science to emerge in the past year. Scientific evidence continues to serve as a reminder that the health benefits of eating fish far outweigh the hypothetical risks for every segment of the population — including pregnant women.

The new Seafood Science report is available for download at, where consumers can also find the Internet’s most reliable fish-mercury calculator.

Founded in 1996, the Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices. For more information, visit


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