ElderlyHeavy MetalsOmega-3 Fatty Acids

Demographics and the risk for high mercury levels?

Using data from a study of pregnant women from an inland area in the US South, researchers at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina, sought to understand the fish consumption habits and associated mercury levels.

Here’s what they found.

  • Over 30% of women had at least 1 mcg/L of mercury in their blood, and about 2% had blood mercury levels above the level of concern during pregnancy (at least 3.5 mcg/L).
  • Mercury levels were higher in the following groups.
    • Asian/Pacific islanders
    • Older, higher educated, and married women
  • Fish consumption from any source was reported by 2/3 of the women, with older women more likely to consume fish.
  • Despite eating more fish meals per week, lower income, lower educated women had lower blood mercury levels than higher income, higher educated women.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Different demographic groups consume different types of fish. Encouraging increased fish consumption while minimizing mercury exposure requires careful crafting of a complex health message.”

You’ve got to reach each group with a tailored message.

8/29/11 21:24 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.