How much is too much mercury?
You must be wondering: what levels of mercury might cause harm? Unfortunately, this question is tricky due to the fact that there are very few studies that focus on extracting measurements.
For now, scientists have determined that the benchmark dose of methylmercury that results in non-lethal effects (such as changes in the nervous system) in fetuses is 58 micrograms of methylmercury per liter of cord blood (blood that remains in the placenta). On the other hand, adults and children can start experiencing the adverse effects of mercury consumption at quantities of less than 3 micrograms per kilogram of body weight.
Since it is difficult to determine the amount of mercury we consume through food, the best course of action is to identify the high-mercury and low-mercury seafood in the Philippines.
Low-mercury seafood in the Philippines
Now that you know the dangers of ingesting dangerous amounts of mercury, let’s talk about the low-mercury seafood here in the Philippines. According to medical experts, the following are the types of seafood with the lowest mercury levels:
- Anchovies (dilis)
- Catfish (hito)
- Clams (halaan)
- Cod (bakalaw)
- Crab (alimasag)
- Mackerel (galungong)
- Oysters (talaba)
- Tilapia and salmon
- Sardines (sardinas)
- Shrimp (hipon)
- Squid (pusit)
The following also have low mercury levels:
- Albacore, white and yellowfin tuna
- Mullet (Banak)
- Herring (Tamban)
- Red snapper (Maya-maya)
Please note that children and adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, can have 2 to 3 weekly servings of the low-mercury seafood in the first list. However, they can have only 1 serving per week of seafood in the second list.
Keep in mind that while children and adults have the same number of recommended servings, the serving sizes vary. For adults, 1 serving is equal to 113 grams or 4 ounces. For kids 2 to 10 years old, 1 serving is equal to 28 grams or 1 ounce.