Mercury Contamination in Fish and Its Effects on the Health of Pregnant Women and Their Fetuses, and Guidance for Fish Consumption-A Narrative Review


As a principal source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (3FAs), which provide vital health benefits, fish consumption also comes with the additional benefit of being rich in diverse nutrients (e.g., vitamins and selenium, high in proteins and low in saturated fats, etc.). The consumption of fish and other seafood products has been significantly promoted universally, given that fish is an important part of a healthy diet. However, many documents indicate that fish may also be a potential source of exposure to chemical pollutants, especially mercury (Hg) (one of the top ten chemicals or groups of chemicals of concern worldwide), and this is a grave concern for many consumers, especially pregnant women, as this could affect their fetuses. In this review, the definition of Hg and its forms and mode of entrance into fish are introduced in detail and, moreover, the bio-accumulation of Hg in fish and its toxicity and action mechanisms on fish and humans, especially considering the health of pregnant women and their fetuses after the daily intake of fish, are also reviewed. Finally, some feasible and constructive suggestions and guidelines are recommended for the specific group of pregnant women for the consumption of balanced and appropriate fish diets in a rational manner.

Authors: Bojian Chen, Shiyuan Dong
; Full Source: International journal of environmental research and public health 2022 Nov 29;19(23):15929. doi: 10.3390/ijerph192315929.