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One of the more convenient foods we have at our disposal is canned tuna. It is considered by many to be a healthy choice, but there are reasons to look at it with some concern.

According to a study from Consumer Reports, certain types of canned fish have an “unpredictable” amount of mercury. The study suggests that pregnant women should avoid it because mercury could cause damage to an unborn child.

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The organization tested 10 different canned tuna products. Each of them was packed in water and came from five different brands. Those brands included:

– Chicken of the Sea
– Safe Catch
– StarKist
– Wild Planet
– Bumble Bee

After 30 different samples were taken, researchers found a higher mercury level in the canned fish.

According to one survey, 23% of the United States population eats canned tuna every week. Not all of the canned fish had the same amount of mercury. Some skipjack and light varieties had a lower average level.

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However, Albacore and some other varieties had much higher mercury levels.

The danger was brought out by the director of Food Safety Research and Testing at Consumer Reports, James E Rogers. He said: “From can to can, mercury levels can spike in unpredictable ways that might jeopardize the health of a fetus.”

Everyone should avoid consuming mercury, but it is most harmful to children, infants, and pregnant women. According to Washington State University, health risks can range from a loss of smell to developmental delays and lower brain function. Central nervous system problems are also possible, as are cardiovascular issues in adults.

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There were also some “potentially dangerous spikes” of higher mercury levels in certain products. The New York Post reports that the FDA warns that pregnant women should “steer clear” of tuna completely, and some adults and children should limit consumption.

The National Fisheries Institute claims that the mercury levels were lower than the limits imposed by the FDA. That organization represents several different canned tuna companies.

According to the New York Post, a company representative, Gavin Gibbons said: “Cans that include tuna with mercury levels of .58ppm [parts per million] or .66ppm are nowhere near the absolute lowest levels FDA itself associates with ‘adverse effects.'” He went on to say that the limit for mercury in fish is 1.0 ppm.