New Study Debunks Any Link Between Eating Fish and Autism
A new report published in the scientific journal Epidemiology by researchers at the University of Rochester has found no relationship between eating fish during pregnancy and increased risk for autistic behavior in their children. The Seychelles Child Development Study drew from over 30 years of research examining the effects of methylmercurya naturally occurring organic compound found in the worlds oceans, and in trace amounts in seafoodin pregnant women who ate 12 meals of fish a week. The report adds to the long list of independent studies showing the developmental benefits for babies when their mothers eat fish regularly during pregnancy and serves as further proof against the fearmongers who continue to claim seafood consumptioneven in far more modest amountsis somehow dangerous especially for pregnant women and their unborn children. The federal governments Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends expecting mothers eat no less than two servings a week. Currently pregnant women eat less than 2 ounces of seafood a week, or less than one serving.
The U.S. seafood recommendation is far lower than the average womans fish intake in the rest of the world, including the women who took part in the Rochester study, who ate 10 times the amount of seafood of the average American women and had 20 times the amount of methylmercury in their systems. In fact, the Rochester study found that the children of women with the largest concentrations of methylmercury actually had higher brain development scores, perhaps due in part to the overriding benefits of eating fish.
The study comes at an important time as the “11th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant is set to kickoff. Among the panels are discussions on Health Impacts from Mercury: Emerging science and unanswered questions, which involves examining the risks and benefits of eating seafooda non-issue for pregnant women, as the Rochester and countless other studies have shown.
So as environmental zealots use this platform to justify the righteousness of their clean environmental cause and scare pregnant women about eating or choosing their fish wisely, journalists covering the conference should ask themselves these questions:
1) Why should the public believe environmental extremists claims of theoretical harm over independent scientific studies showing that eating fish is both beneficial and necessary for pregnant women and their babies?
2) Why perpetuate fear that the amount of fish a pregnant women eats needs to be limited when according to FDA she eats less than 2 ounces a week on average, far below the government recommendation she eat 8 to 12 ounces?
3) Why complicate messages about the importance of eating fish during pregnancy with messages suggesting the species of fish she chooses is fraught with danger?
4) Are these groups ready to take responsibility for willfully promoting harmful advice that causes mothers to deprive their babies of essential nutrients found in fish and needed to build babies brains?
Instead of listening to a group of unqualified environmental zealots whos entire environmental agenda rests on creating fear among pregnant women about eating fish, and asking for money to do it, Americans should listen to research experts like those at the from the University of Rochester, and countless others, who continue to show us missing out on fish is the real harm.