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Fish intake- Safety & Benefits: • Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish—especially oily fish such as salmon, sardines, and herring. These omega-3 fatty acids can help lower your blood pressure, lower your heart rate, and improve other cardiovascular risk factors. • Eating fish reduces the risk of death from heart disease, the leading cause of death in both men and women. Fish intake has also been linked to a lower risk of stroke, depression, and mental decline with age. • For pregnant women, mothers who are breastfeeding, and women of childbearing age, fish intake is important because it supplies DHA, a specific omega-3 fatty acid that is beneficial for the brain development of infants.

POSSIBLE RISKS OF FISH CONSUMPTION • Some fish contain mercury. For men and women not of childbearing age, it is not clear that mercury exposure from typical levels of fish intake has any adverse health effects. In contrast, fish intake has significant benefits for reducing the risk of death from heart disease, the number one cause of death. So, mercury exposure from fish intake should not be a major concern for men or for women not of childbearing age. The benefits of fish intake can be maximized by consuming a variety of different seafood. • Mercury may have subtle effects on the developing nervous systems of infants. Therefore, pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, those who are breastfeeding, and very young children should avoid 4 types of fish that are higher in mercury content: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and golden bass. Other fish should still be consumed to ensure that infants receive the benefits of DHA for brain development. Light tuna has relatively low levels of mercury, and other fish, such as wild and farmed salmon and shrimp, contain very low levels of mercury. • Chemicals called dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can accumulate in foods, including fish. The levels of these chemicals in fish, including farmed fish, are very low and like levels in meats and dairy products. Compared with the health benefits of fish intake, the health risks of these chemical levels are very low and should not influence individual decisions about fish intake. Compared with store-bought fish, locally caught freshwater fish may have higher chemical levels, so local advisories should be consulted.

The elderly and those with underlying health conditions may be more susceptible to adverse health effects from contaminated fish even if contamination levels are low.

Both groups are at a greater risk to negative health impacts because their bodies may be less able to remove these contaminants safely from their systems. Therefore, these people should limit their consumption of fish and shellfish that may be contaminated.

Eating fish frequently and/or in large quantities can pose a significant health risk because mercury and other contaminants tend to build up in your body over time. This can expose a person to more contamination.

Sport anglers and recreational fishers, as well as subsistence fishers, are at risk because these groups tend to eat more fish than the average person.

These groups should pay particular attention to the types of fish they consume, the number of fish and the waters that they eat fish from to ensure that they do not put their health at risk.

Highest Levels:

· King Mackerel

· Marlin

· Orange roughy

· Shark

· Swordfish

· Tuna, bigeye

Medium Levels:

· Bluefish

· Carp

· Grouper

· Halibut

· Mahi/ Mahi Rockfish

· Snapper

· Striped bass (ocean)

· Tuna, Albacore/White Tuna

· Tuna, yellow fin

· Seatrout

Lower Levels:

· Anchovy

· Anchovy

· Catfish

· Clam

· Cod

· Crab

· Crawfish

· Flounder

· Haddock

· Hake

· Herring

· Mullet

· Oyster

· Pollock

· Salmon

· Sardine

· Scallop

· Shad

· Shrimp

· Skate

· Squid

· Tilapia

· Trout (freshwater)

· Whitefish

Overall, the health benefits of eating fish greatly outweigh the potential risks—especially when guidelines are used to reduce the small chance of being affected by these risks.

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