FDA reverses stance on mercury’s risks

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The FDA has changed its opinion on mercury risksWomen of childbearing age, pregnant women, nursing mothers, babies and children would no longer be advised to limit their fish consumption due to mercury risks, under new draft proposals by the FDA.

The decision to reverse a 2004 joint advisory by the FDA and environmental protection agency has angered some at the EPA, the Washington Post reports.

Internal memos obtained by the news provider show that EPA scientists believe the new recommendations are "scientifically flawed and inadequate" and lacking in "scientific rigor."

Four years, ago the two agencies said they had determined that the high mercury levels present in fish such as swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel posed a risk to younger women and children.

They recommended that these groups avoid those fish altogether, as well as eating no more than 12 oz of other low-mercury fish per week.

Studies have suggested that mercury can interfere with the neurological development of babies and fetuses, as well as increasing an adult’s risk of heart disease.

Richard Wiles of the Environmental Working Group said the FDA’s proposal is "a commentary on how low the FDA has sunk as an agency," adding that it has become "nothing more than a patsy for polluters."
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