I got my results back from the greenpeace mercury-in-hair testing program and I am OK! I scored 0.31 ug/g, which is below the 1 ug/g “watch out” value, the 11 ug/g “uh-oh” value, and the greater than 11 ug/g “yikes!” value.
If your laboratory results are less than 1 ug/g, your mercury hair level is below the recommended upper limit. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recommend that levels of mercury found in hair be kept below 1 ug/g. In order to maintain this low level, we recommend you do not increase consumption of fish that have high levels of mercury.
The flyer I received with my results also states that “Babies born to mothers with elevated levels of mercury may have problems with neurological development. To estimate risk, the EPA has used multiple epidemiological studies indicating that hair levels as low as 4 to 5 ug/g can lead to adverse effects to the newborn baby.”
Of course, I have to confess that since my results came back I’ve been eating fish NON STOP in the form of sardines. It started a few weeks ago when we were at the coop shopping, and I bought a cute perfect tin of fish. I LOVE the concept of tinned fish. Michelle asked if I had ever had sardines before, and I know I have, but not for quite some time. I have been eating them on crackers with olives. they are So Good. Mostly I think I just love things that one eats on crackers. You really can’t go wrong with that. Yesterday at the coop I bought Kippered fish (in a tin!) and think it will go quite nicely with crackers and maybe some steamed asparagus. And also crackers. Maybe with garlicky cheese on them. Mmm. Crackers.
Last night I had Chilean Sea Bass and while it was INCREDIBLE (in a lemon butter sauce with capers) I feel doubly guilty for it today, they’re very overfished and also on the “Avoid” list.
Greenpeace provided a list of fish dos and don’ts:
Fish that are low in mercury and can be eaten in moderation:
Abalone (farmed), Anchovies, Butterfish, Calamari (squid), Catfish, Caviar (farmed), Clams, Crab (king), Crawfish/crayfish, Flounder, Haddock, Hake, Herring, Lobster (spiny/rock), Mackerel (Atlantic), Mussels (farmed), Oysters, Perch (ocean), Pollock, Salmon (wild), Sardines, Scallops, Shad, Shrimp, Sole, Sturgeon (farmed),Tilapia, Trout, Whitefish
Eat sparingly (less than six 6 oz servings a month):
Carp, Cod, Crab (dungeness), Crab (blue), Crab (snow), Mahi Mahi, Monkfish, Perch (freshwater), Skate, Snapper, Tuna (canned, chunk light)
Avoid (less than three 6 oz servings a month):
Bluefish, Croaker, Halibut, Lobster (American/Maine), Rockfish, Sea Bass, Sea Trout (Weakfish), Tuna (canned, white albacore), Tuna (fresh)
Do not eat:
Grouper, Mackerel (king), Marlin, Orange Roughy, Shark, Swordfish, Tilefish