According to the Washington Post, a coalition of top scientists from private groups and federal agencies plans to declare today that pregnant and breast-feeding women should eat at least 12 ounces of fish and seafood per week to ensure their babies' optimal brain development.
And that, of course, is a major break with current U.S. health advice that the women in question should eat no more than 12 ounces per week due to concerns about mercury contamination.
The debate over fish and pregnant mothers has deepened over the last several years, and at its core is the tension between the brain-bolstering nutrients in seafood and concern over exposure to mercury, which builds up in the tissue of many marine species and is toxic to nerve tissue.
While some may disagree with their suggestion on seafood intake, the group set to issue today’s advisory is the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. A respected nonprofit group with nearly 150 members, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the March of Dimes, as well as federal agencies including the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And that may present a difficult dilemma to moms and moms-to-be alike, as the FDA intends to examine their material though they’ve indicated that they have no intention of changing the advice on seafood and pregnancy they put out in 2001 and 2004.
I guess the debate rages on…