Just One Thing: Learn How to Avoid Excess Mercury in Your Diet

Effort aimed at reducing mecury, other toxic pollutants, officials say.

BySUZAN CLARKE via via logo
March 16, 2011, 9:39 PM

March 17, 2011 — -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new standards to reduce mercury and other harmful emissions at power plants across the nation.

The agency announced the proposed guidelines Wednesday in response to a looming court deadline.

Toxic air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired power plants have been shown to cause neurological damage, including a lower IQ, in children exposed in the womb and during early development.

Mercury, arsenic, chromium and nickel also damage the environment and pollute lakes, streams, and fish. The pollutants lead to premature death, heart disease and asthma.

Certain seafood can be high in mercury. In such levels, it can be toxic, particularly to pregnant women. Experts say it can damage an unborn baby or young child's central nervous system and has been linked to heart problems in adults.

People can take steps right now to reduce their mercury exposure.

Mary Anne Hitt from the Sierra Club visited "GMA" to discuss which fish people should avoid to limit their exposure to mercury.

Mercury is absorbed into the water from the pollutants in the air and then fish in turn absorb it from the water, she said.

What Not To Eat

She advised people to avoid big fish -- such as swordfish, king mackerel or tile fish -- because of their high mercury content.

Shrimp, salmon and canned light tuna have lower levels of mercury, she said.

People can reduce the level of mercury in their systems in 30 days simply by reducing the amount of mercury-rich fish they consume, Hitt added.

Click HERE to find out how to get a discounted mercury hair test.

Other Resources

Click HERE to find out more about the dangers of mercury for pregnant women and children.

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