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Consumers remain unaware of mercury risk

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MONTPELIER, Vt., Aug 28, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The New England Zero Mercury Campaign said Thursday more than one in two consumers are unaware of risks to women and children from eating canned tuna.

And the Mercury Policy Project, a campaign partner, called on the Food and Drug Administration and health departments to strengthen fish-consumption advisories, requiring businesses selling fish to post mercury warnings.

MPP director Michael Bender, in a statement, said: "Over one year ago, FDA's advisory committee recommended that pregnant women and kids be advised to limit consumption of canned tuna.

"During the committee meeting, FDA scientists stated that upwards of 50 percent of women of childbearing age are unaware of exposure risks to mercury from eating fish. Our results are similar and bolster the need for FDA to stop delaying and act now."

Methylmercury, the organic form mercury takes in fish, is a neurotoxin that can cause nervous system and brain damage in the developing fetus, infants and young children.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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