The idea of poisoning yourself and your family is a scary thought – especially when all you’re trying to do is put a healthy meal on the table.
The issue is that because of the large amount of chemical waste and pollutants that manage to make their way back into the oceans from our manufacturing plants and excess waste that often winds up in the oceans, the fish in our seas are becoming exposed to greater and greater levels of mercury. When we catch these fish, process them, and bring them back to our homes for food, we end up reintroducing that harmful mercury into our systems, resulting in some seriously negative health issues down the line.
In fact, the problem has gotten so bad, that the EPA estimates that roughly 75,000 children suffer learning disabilities every year on account of their mothers’ increased mercury levels, not to mention the greater risk of a wide variety of health defects over time with continued exposure to the chemical. While scientists are trying to find a way to reduce the amount of mercury in our oceans, the problem is that it’s a multi-faceted issue that requires political change as well as technological advancements which could take a while.
So in order to prevent the majority of the damage caused by mercury poisoning, researchers compiled a list of fish that are most likely to have the highest mercury count in order to allow people to avoid them and therefore greatly reduce their chances of becoming contaminated with mercury from a young age (or at any point for that matter).
Some of the main species to be concerned about are swordfish, shark, Gulf tilefish, and king mackerel, and while they might be quite rare in many cases, you should still avoid them in any situation. Two additional fish to keep an eye out for are marlin and the orange roughy.