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Journal of Toxicology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 983072, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/983072
Review Article

Recognizing and Preventing Overexposure to Methylmercury from Fish and Seafood Consumption: Information for Physicians

1Stony Brook University, 167 Dana Hall, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5000, USA
2University at Albany, State University of New York, 5 University Place, A217, Rensselaer, NY 12144, USA
3Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders, 8232 14th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98115, USA
4Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA
5Groth Consulting Services, 75 Clifford Avenue, Pelham, NY 10803, USA
6California Pacific Medical Center, 2100 Webster Street, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
7School of Medicine, Stony Brook University, 4-175 Health Sciences Center, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8430, USA

Received 30 March 2011; Accepted 27 April 2011

Academic Editor: Dietrich Büsselberg

Copyright © 2011 Susan M. Silbernagel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Fish is a valuable source of nutrition, and many people would benefit from eating fish regularly. But some people eat a lot of fish, every day or several meals per week, and thus can run a significant risk of overexposure to methylmercury. Current advice regarding methylmercury from fish consumption is targeted to protect the developing brain and nervous system but adverse health effects are increasingly associated with adult chronic low-level methylmercury exposure. Manifestations of methylmercury poisoning are variable and may be difficult to detect unless one considers this specific diagnosis and does an appropriate test (blood or hair analysis). We provide information to physicians to recognize and prevent overexposure to methylmercury from fish and seafood consumption. Physicians are urged to ask patients if they eat fish: how often, how much, and what kinds. People who eat fish frequently (once a week or more often) and pregnant women are advised to choose low mercury fish.