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How much Tuna is "too much"?


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Need some thoughts to settle an argument with the boyfriend. He is trying to tell me that eating tuna every day is not good for me....because of mercury levels. I was under the impression that someone would have to eat a whole lot of tuna to risk such a thing....is 1-2 cans a day really that bad??
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This table provides guidelines on how much canned tuna it is safe to eat, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. While mercury poses the most serious health threat to children and women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, others may also wish to use this list as a guide.

 

If you weigh: Don't eat more than one can every- White Albacore - Chunk Light
20 lbs 10 weeks 3 weeks
30 lbs 6 weeks 2 weeks
40 lbs 5 weeks 11 days
50 lbs 4 weeks 9 days
60 lbs 3 weeks 7 days
70 lbs 3 weeks 6 days
80 lbs 2 weeks 6 days
90 lbs 2 weeks 5 days
100 lbs 2 weeks 5 days
110 lbs 12 days 4 days
120 lbs 11 days 4 days
130 lbs 10 days 4 days
140 lbs 10 days 3 days
150+ lbs 9 days 3 days


Source: Food and Drug Administration test results for mercury and fish, and the Environmental Protection Agency's determination of safe levels of mercury.

 

http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/mercury/tu na.asp

Here's a Mercury Calculator.....

http://www.gotmercury.org/

Enter your weight, pick the type of fish, how many oz you eat a week (a can of tuna is 6 oz I think) & it will calculate how much mercury you're getting. I was surprised at the results I got!
Thanx guys....thought I think you just won the boyfriends argument for him. According to the calculator at only 4 oz of tuna a week i am at 80% mercury exposure.....can that be right? Never mind a can a day I can't even eat a can a week???
Tuna is VERY high in mercury. I've heard you should limit yourself to one or two SERVINGS a month; not whole cans.
They had a story on the news about this recently...that's where I got the calculator. Yep, tuna is high in mercury...not all fish are that high. The Dr they interviewed said to get the mercury out of your system you should exercise & work up a sweat...then wipe off the sweat with a towel before your body can reabsorb the mercury. I'm thinking saunas would work, too.
It depends which tuna you eat. Light tuna doesn't have too much.
This is very sad.  Albacore is the tasty type, and the healthier type (with omega3s) but it's the higher-mercury type.  I was considering increasing the amount of tuna I ate, too, because it's such a cheap, healthy, low-calorie, tasty protein source.

For reference, the University of Northwestern has a list of tuna and other fishies as well:

http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/nutritio n/fact-sheets.html

and the American Heart Association: 

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml? identifier=3013797

Wow. That's a little scary considering I was eating a can a day there for a while!
Well I guess I am sticking to canned salmon (no detectable mercury).  Tuna very rarely and not for my children which is okay because they do not like it anyway.

I'm going to throw this out there - you probably shouldn't be eating anything from the top of the food chain mercury or not; we need those big fish in the oceans. Don't forget to check your local Seafood Watch in order to see what fish is the most environmentally friendly to eat.

But yes, mercury accumulates in the food chain - vegetarian fish have the lowest amount, the fish that eat them have all the mercury from all the fish they eat, the fish that eat those fish have the combined mercury of all the fish lower than them, and so on and so forth. Add to that the fact that there are 5-7 layers to the food chain in the oceans (as opposed to on land where there are only 3), so by the time you get to tuna, that's a whole lot of mercury concentrated in one fish.

Edited to add: Long line fishing has put 19 of 21 albatross species on the critically endangered list, plus long line fishing has a high degree of associated bycatch (sharks/turtles etc); just another couple of reasons to avoid tuna.

Original Post by sonini:

Wow. That's a little scary considering I was eating a can a day there for a while!

 And that mercury accumulates in your body and basically stays forever.  So even if you're not planning to have kids for a looong time you need to watch your mercury consumption.

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