MorganRants

Things I am passionate about. Injustice, stupidity, intolerance, bigotry and small-mindedness. Oh and there might just be some humor to offset the whole thing.

U.S. “Experts” Recommend Eating Fish While Pregnant

Posted by morganwrites on October 14, 2007

The quotes in the header and italics in the copy are mine. You’ll understand why after reading this article from Reuters.

WASHINGTON – Pregnant and breast-feeding women should eat at least 12 ounces of fish and other seafood a week because the benefits for infant brain delvelopment outweigh any worries about mercury contamination, a group of U.S. experts said on last Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007.

The recommendations contradict U.S. government warnings that these women should consume no more that 12 ounces of fish and other seafood weekly due to concerns that mercury – which can harm the nervouse system of fetuses – might exist in trace amounts in this food.

But the group of 14 obstetricians and nutritionists said the threat of mercury poisoning remains only theoretical, while the warnings have scared many pregnant women into not eating fish at all, robbing them and their babies of vital nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, known to help brain development. Haven’t these ‘experts’ heard of omega-3 supplements?

The recommendations were issued in partnership with the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, whose members include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Agricultural Department, The March of Dimes, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and others.

The nutrients in fish and seafood are important for brain and motor skill development in children and can help prevent postpartum depression in mothers, the experts said.

NO CASE OF FETAL MERCURY TOXICITY

The coalition said it received $60,000 from a seafood industry trade group, but the experts defended the independence of their work. Horsecrap.

“There has been no case of fetal mercury toxicity due to fish consumption reported in the United States,” said one of the experts, Dr. Ashley Roman, a professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York University Medical Center. Isn’t that because our population has followed the U.S. government warnings regarding possible mercury poisoning in some/most fish?

The group urged that women who what to become pregnant, are pregnant or are breast-feeding should eat a minimum of 12 ounces per week of fish like salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel and seafood like shrimp, lobster and clams.

That amounts to about two to three servings a week. It did not state a recommended upper limit for consumption.

“There are some fish that have been shown to be higher in mercury and in other important trace elements such as shark and swordfish,” Roman said. “Those might be sources of fish women still might want to stay away from. But the vast majority of fish out there present in the U.S. diet, those are generally very healthy fishes.” I didn’t make this up, this is exactly what she said.

“We’re not saying that women should eat 21 meals of fish a week. That’s not the message here,” added Cornell University nutritionist Thomas Brenna, another member of the group. Of course not, Thomas, you ditz. Your study said 12 oz. a week which would ‘amount to two to three servings per week’.

The experts cited a study published in February in the Lancet medical journal (Britain’s “Journal of Medicine’) finding that children whose mothers ate more fish and other seafood while pregnant were smarter and had better developmental skills that those whose mothers are less or none.

It looked at children of 8,000 British women to see how children fared if their mothers ate more that 12 ounces a week.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued advisories in 2001 and 2004 telling women who were pregnant, breast-feeding or trying to become pregnant, as well as young children, to eat ‘no more that 12 ounces weekly of some types of fish due to mercury concerns.’ So why in the hell are we having a report from these ‘experts’ that echoes what we’ve been told in 2001 and 2004? Isn’t this redundant?

Estimates on the dangers posed by mercury come from people exposed in chemical spills. What? No major studies have shown that mercury from food or vaccines has caused brain damage to mothers or children.

“While it’s recognized that fish is an important source of protein, especially for pregnant women, this new emphasis on eating more that 12 ounces of fish per week, without mention of the need to avoid mercury-contaminated fish, appears to throw the baby out with the bath water,” Michael Bender, director of the Mercury Policy Project advocacy group that believes mercury exposure has damaged children, said in a statement.

Yeah, and we can all guess to whom he’s speaking.

MorganLighter

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3 Responses to “U.S. “Experts” Recommend Eating Fish While Pregnant”

  1. Melissa said

    It is irresponsible of this coalition to urge pregnant mothers to eat more fish than the FDA recommends without any advice to avoid high mercury fish. Decades of scientific research on the toxicity of methylmercury suggest that it harms healthy fetal development. According to http://www.Seafood.com, the National Fisheries Institute partially funded this latest campaign to urge expectant women to consume more fish and seafood.

    I also learned from other news organizations (NPR, a repsonse in the washington post) that the March of Dimes still endorses the original FDA fish consumption guidelines for expectant mothers and the American Academy of Pediatrics disagrees with the so-called new advice. And most importantly, none of the federal agencies knew in advance about this “new advice” nor did they support it!

    In fact, a few recent studies suggest that the benefits of fish consumption during pregnancy, such as improving infant gestation length and neurodevelopment, may be erased when the mother’s mercury levels are high.

    Women of childbearing age need to select their fish wisely. The FDA advice should be posted at fish counters to help end this confusion. Here’s the website to an organization that is trying to get grocery stores to post this important advice.

  2. morganwrites said

    Melissa,
    Thank you for your informative comment.
    I was stunned when I read this article and saw who was endorsing this ‘factual’ study. Bah!
    What amuses me the most is that in stories like these they do not cite their hard data nor do they give you links to where one could find additional information.
    What, exactly, are they trying to hide.
    Take care.

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