Eating Fish During Pregnancy and Childhood
Eating fish can be a delicious, low cost, low fat and nutritious meal. But eating certain fish can also be harmful, because of the mercury and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in them.
Pregnant women (and the babies they carry), women who may become pregnant, and children under 15 are most at risk for health problems from these chemicals. Exposure to mercury and PCBs can damage the brains of unborn babies and children, causing slower development and learning problems. Pregnant or breastfeeding women expose their babies to these chemicals when they eat contaminated fish. Children are exposed when they eat contaminated fish.
PREGNANT WOMEN, WOMEN WHO ARE BREASTFEEDING OR MAY BECOME PREGNANT, AND CHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 15 should follow the guidelines below when choosing the kinds and amounts of fish to eat.
IN GENERAL, smaller and younger fish are less likely to have high levels of mercury or PCB's.