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I recently heard about canned tuna containing potentially dangerous levels of mercury. Of course, I only heard about this shortly AFTER we spent the weekend canning 100 pounds of tuna! I love fresh tuna, but now I am afraid to eat it as I am currently pregnant and have another small dd. My questions:<br><br>
1) The articles talking linking mercury to tuna specifically mention canned tuna...would home-canned tuna be any different? We live in Oregon, and got the tuna right off the boat.<br><br>
2) I'm thinking about having some of our tuna tested, but where? What kind of place would test mercury levels in tuna for me?<br><br>
I'm just so bummed about this news. Here I thought tuna was supposed to be so healthy...<br><br>
If anyone has any knowledge about this topic I'd love to hear it!
 

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I'll bet Jane has some good information on this.<br><br>
My understanding is that the mercury levels are prevalent in the fish itself, and have little if anything to do with whether the fish has been canned or is fresh.<br><br>
Shark, tilefish and tuna are reportedly among those fish that should be avoided during pregnancy due to high mercury levels. (Tuna, however, was added quite late to the list, apparently due to hard lobbying against inclusion by the tuna industry.)
 

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Fish generally contain high levels of toxic substances. The reason is two fold.<br><br>
1. Our waters have become so polluted from dumping crap into the ocean including illegal and toxic substances.<br><br>
2. The fish's gills are in capable of filtering out the heavy metals and toxins so they permeate their cells. You can't wash that out of fish the way you can wash pesticides off fruits and veggies (or peeling them).<br><br>
Fish have become very toxic. The higher up on the food chain the fish is, the more toxic they are.<br><br>
One thing to note as this brings up an interesting issue is that a lot of people get worried about pesticide residue on their fruits and veggies. But at least you can wash or peel the fruit or veggie.<br><br>
On the other hand, meat and dairy products contain enormous levels of pesticide residue because those animals are eating pesticide laden foods AND the farmers actually force the animals to ingest pesticides to kill the bugs that find their way into the animals food. Food animals are also sprayed daily with pesticides and fungicides. Those toxins permeate the very muscles and cells of the animals. When you buy meat at the market, you cannot wash pesticide residue out of meat. It's impossible.<br><br>
It's unfortunate that the USDA doesn't require the meat or dairy industries to reveal this on the package. I read a statistic once that 92%-96% of the pesticides the average American ingests comes from meat and dairy products. But American's are taught to fear produce... go figure.<br><br>
Anyway, yeah, tuna bad. Poor fishie.
 

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check out the environmental working group's site -- <a href="http://www.ewg.org/" target="_blank">http://www.ewg.org/</a> . they have a section on mercury in seafood, plus lots of other food issues you can worry about if you're like me...<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">:<br><br>
its my understanding that mercury builds up in the body of the fish and there is no way for the fish to get rid of it, so generally speaking the bigger the fish the worse the mercury because the big fish ate the medium sized fish who ate the little fish and they all had mercury. i think the FDA was skirting the issue with the canned tuna recommendation because it's such a popular food in the US and generally speaking smaller tunas are used for canning so theorectically there's less mercury.<br><br>
i don't know where you could get it tested, but that's a good idea. maybe someone at the ewg could advise.<br><br>
i'm nursing and pg, too, and i gave up tuna, too, when i first heard about this and switched to wild pacific salmon. i did eat farmed salmon out occasionally, but have dropped that now due to PCBs in farmed salmon.<br><br>
the latest thing i'm worried about is perchlorate (rocket fuel) in food (lettuce, especially) from california and arizona and i guess texas. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="EEK!">: you might wanna check that out on <a href="http://www.ewg.org" target="_blank">www.ewg.org</a> if you think all veggies are safe. organic and conventional vegetables both take up some bad substances (like perchlorate -- think a stem of celery in a glass of water with red food coloring) and it's not something you can wash off any more than washing off mercury from a fish. it's a damn shame what we've done to the land with all our toxic chemistry. give me an inch to worry about and i'll take a mile... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">:
 

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I miss fresh Tuna & Swordfish too. We've been eating tuna (canned) for months (infrequently) and I recently learned that the canned <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/duh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="duh"> is no better than fresh. What was I thinking?<br><br>
DH <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hat"> was taking DS for tuna sandwiches every weekend <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hammer.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hammer"> and I finally convinced him not to by e-mailing him some internet info.<br><br>
Contact Consumer Reports, mercola.com, or your state for info on having food tested. Maybe do a search on the web.<br><br>
Erin, dang, I had no idea that "farm" animals were sprayed daily with pesticides <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="EEK!"> Where did you learn that? Makes me glad I've been a fish-eating vegetarian for the past 12 yrs (now we're eating organic chicken & eggs).
 

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Looks like everyone else beat me to it! I really like the EWG site, except that every time I go there I get <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/Cuss.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="cuss"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/Cuss.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="cuss"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/Cuss.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="cuss"> all over again about all the toxic waste we're exposed to every day. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"><br><br>
What size tuna were you canning, large or small? It does make a difference, but of course that's a generalization - there are probably some large tuna that have less of a body burden and some smaller tuna that have more of a body burden, depending on that fish's exposure.<br><br>
If I ate fish and really wanted to eat tuna and were pregnant/breastfeeding, I would not eat tuna more than once every couple of weeks. I wouldn't let a small child eat it more than once every couple of weeks, either. And even that is a more conservative approach to the FDA's recommendation, which isn't based on anything more than a shrug and a "well, we think this is safe but who knows, really?"<br><br>
I became vegetarian for environmental and ethical reasons, but the more I learn about the contamination issues, the more I'm glad I don't eat meat or fish.
 

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Tanibani,<br><br>
It was in either Diet for a new America or the video of the same book.<br><br>
It's awful how they have to decontaminate animals.
 

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Here is an article on this subject from the Los Angeles Times. 26 May 2003. It is now available to read for free on OurStolenFuture.org (there is a book by that title).<br><br><a href="http://www.ourstolenfuture.org/Commentary/News/2003/2003-0526-LAT-mercuryinfish.htm" target="_blank">A Catch to Eating a Lot of Fish</a><br><br><a href="http://www.mercola.com/2001/apr/25/mercury_fish.htm" target="_blank">Dr. Mercola - Mercury in Your Fish</a><br><br>
Thanks Erin.... I read that books 10+ yrs ago... I don't remember that part at all. Ugh... gotta avoid the yummy Baja quesadilla now. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/mecry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="crying">
 

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It isn't just the animals, but the barns are sprayed for flies with vey toxic pesticides. I experienced this first hand growing up on a diary farm. To be certified for Grade A milk, you can't have the flies and need to spray. (they often got banned the year after we used them and had to keep using a new one). I'm sure this goes into the cow's milk.<br><br>
My midwife said no tuna, swordfish or other large fish during pregnancy for the reasons stated above.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks so much for all the helpful suggestions...unless I can get it tested, it looks like all that tuna is going to sit for a while <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/mecry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="crying"> .
 

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As I have learned, as many here have confirmed, tuna is very unsafe~ Especially for pregnant moms, nursing moms, and children.<br>
But it is not just tuna...<br>
other "dangerous fish" are:<br>
*swordfish<br>
*mahi mahi<br>
*halibut<br>
*grouper<br>
*red snapper<br>
*sea bass<br>
*walleye<br>
*salmon, except for wild caught salmon<br><br>
Some safe bets are:<br>
*catfish<br>
*shell fish<br>
*sunfish<br>
*wild caught salmon<br><br>
The fact opf heavy metals in fish is such a bummer to me! I love sushi, and although there are plenty of safer sushi options, my faves are tuna, yellowtail, salmon, red snapper, and swordfish...<br><br>
Better safe than toxic though!
 

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I find it interesting that tuna is so unsafe for preg and nursing moms and small children, yet it is part of WIC food packages. I guess us poor ones don't count or something?<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">:
 
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