Statement of Diana Zuckerman, Ph.D., Regarding the FDA/EPA Dietary Advisory on Methylmercury in Fish

Statement of Diana Zuckerman, Ph.D., President
National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families

March 19, 2004

By any standard, The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) current efforts at protecting the American public from the health risks of mercury in fish do not do enough to protect the public or to educate them so that they can protect themselves.

The new warning about tuna is a victory for women and families, because they will finally have the information they need to protect the healthy development of their children. But, it is a sad day when women and families have to limit the amount of tuna they eat, especially since tuna is an inexpensive and popular source of protein and nutrients for American families. The more important victory will come when the EPA does its job to protect our water from mercury, so that all Americans, including pregnant women and young children, can eat as much tuna and other fish as they like.

The National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families is a research and educational organization that works to improve the health of women, children, and families. Our goal is to ensure that scientific information is made understandable and available in ways that safeguard everyone’s health and make sure that consumers can make educated choices. For several years we have strongly urged the FDA to warn consumers about the risk of tuna for pregnant and nursing women and young children, and we are very pleased that the FDA has finally responded to the growing concern about mercury in tuna. We have also testified about the importance of getting this information out to the public, and we will continue to do that as well. Meantime, we are providing an excellent summary of the issue on our website at http://www.center4research.org/Methylmercury.pdf. The EPA website links to our article.