Mercury is a natural liquid metal found in the environment, including in the water, air and soil. You can be exposed to mercury by breathing the vapors, through skin contact or by eating foods contaminated with mercury. Mercury, particularly methylmercury, the form found in contaminated fish, has toxic effects on humans and if you are pregnant, mercury can affect the developing fetus. While we always think that fish are the only food that contains mercury, other foods besides fish can contain mercury. In this article, we share a list of foods that are high in mercury.
1. Shark: The most common form of mercury is methylmercury, which fish absorb through the water and feeding, causing it to build up in their tissues. The bigger the fish, the more little fish it eats, which is why big fish often have higher mercury concentrations than smaller fish. Older, larger fish have more time to accumulate mercury in their fatty tissues.
2. King Mackerel: No doubt that fish is a very popular food due to its high content of omega-3 fatty acids and its low-fat nutrition profile. But as we said some kinds of fish should be avoided because of its high level of mercury and king mackerel is one of these kinds.
3. Swordfish: Almost all fish and shellfish contain some mercury; however, swordfish have a high level of mercury. These fish reach the FDA limit for human consumption of 1 part per million. The FDA and the EPA recommend that young children, women who are pregnant or nursing, or who may become pregnant, avoid eating these fish.
4. Tilefish: Found along the Atlantic Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico, tilefish also have high levels of mercury. Cooking does not decrease the mercury content in fish, including tilefish, considerably.
5. High-Fructose Corn Syrup: High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a common additive used to enhance the shelf life of foods. Numerous processed foods such as jelly, bread, barbecue sauce and flavored milk are made with HFCS. A January 2009 article in “Environmental Health” investigated whether mercury ended up in the final product, as the manufacturing process of HFCS includes mercury cell chloralkali products. It found mercury in nine out of 20 HFCS samples tested. While amounts found were small, researchers expressed concern that they might pose a risk for children and other individuals at increased risk of mercury poisoning, such as pregnant women.