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Is Tuna Toxic for Kids?

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High mercury levels are found in tuna sushi.

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Could tuna sushi be making your kids sick? A New York Times article says recent lab tests found alarmingly high mercury levels in tuna sushi from 20 Manhattan stores and restaurants—including celeb fave Nobu Next Door. Five of the 20 places had mercury levels so high that the FDA could take legal action to remove the fish from the market.

In 2004, the FDA joined with the Environmental Protection Agency to warn women who might become pregnant and children to limit their consumption of certain varieties of canned tuna because the mercury it contained might damage the developing nervous system. Fresh tuna was not included in the advisory. Most of the tuna sushi in the Times samples contained far more mercury than is typically found in canned tuna. (Apparently, bluefin has the most mercury—albacore and yellowfin have slightly less.)

We called friend of Mom•Logic and pediatrician Dr. Cara Natterson for her take on the matter. "What I tell my patients is not to eat tuna if possible. But if you absolutely have to, less is better." She recommends that kids eat canned tuna no more than once or twice a month, but says that it's better to skip it altogether. "For my own kids, I don't even keep tuna in the house," she says.

When kids are exposed to high levels of mercury, it can impair their brain development. Knowing this, will you limit your kid's tuna intake? Or will you still indulge those tuna roll cravings?


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