EPA Study: Mercury Levels in Women of Childbearing Age Drop 34 Percent

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 2, 2013

News release: “Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a study showing that blood mercury levels in women of childbearing age dropped 34 percent from a survey conducted in 1999-2000 to follow-up surveys conducted from 2001 to 2010. Additionally, the percentage of women of childbearing age with blood mercury levels above the level of concern decreased 65 percent from the 1999-2000 survey and the follow-up surveys from 2001-2010. During the survey period there was very little change in the amount of fish consumed. The decrease in the ratio of mercury intake to fish consumed suggests that women may have shifted to eating types of fish with lower mercury concentrations.  For the peer-reviewed study, Trends in Blood Mercury Concentrations and Fish Consumption among U.S. Women of Childbearing Age, NHANES (1999-2010)EPA analyzed measurements of blood mercury levels from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. EPA found that blood methylmercury concentrations in women of childbearing age in the first survey cycle (1999-2000) were 1.5 times higher than the average concentration of the five subsequent cycles (2001-2010). The average of blood mercury concentrations changed only slightly from 2001 to 2010, and remained below levels of concern for health.”

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