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Canned tuna mercury risk

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MONTPELIER, Vt., Jun 19, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A public interest group says one of every 20 cans of "white," or albacore, tuna should be recalled as being unsafe for human consumption.

The Mercury Policy Project announced Thursday it has determined that, on average, the level of mercury in white tuna is considerably higher than industry and government claims from outdated FDA tests.

Project Director Michael Bender said, "Our tests confirm what FDA has known for over a decade: white tuna has higher mercury levels. Yet because FDA halted testing of canned tuna for mercury in 1998 to save money, and because industry keeps its results secret, parents are unknowingly exposing their children to mercury."

Methylmercury -- the organic form mercury assumes in fish -- is a potent neurotoxin that poses the greatest risk to a developing fetus. Data from the CDC indicates one in 12 women of childbearing age have unsafe mercury levels, meaning more than 300,000 babies are born at risk each year.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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