Tools to help you talk to your patients about reproductive and developmental impacts from mercury.
Patient Handouts & Education
Reprinted from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol 207 (6), Sheela Sathyanarayana, MD MPH et al., Environmental exposures: how to counsel preconception and prenatal patients in the clinical setting, pages: 463-470, 2012 with permission from Elsevier.
- Exposure to mercury can come from eating fish, contact with quicksilver, use of skin-lightening creams, or inhalation of mercury vapors at work.
- Mercury is a potent neurotoxin; exposure during pregnancy can lead to adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes that include lower IQ and poor language and motor development.
- Fish is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to improve visual acuity and scores on the Denver Developmental Screen.
- Pregnant, preconception, and breastfeeding patients should follow US Environmental Protection Agency and state-specific fish consumptions guidelines.
- To maximize the benefits of fish consumption, eat fish twice per week.
- Choose a variety of fish; avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tile fish.
- Eat fish that are lower in mercury.
- If you eat recreationally caught fish, access local fish advisories and follow the recommendations for consumption.
- Do not use skin-lightening creams or home remedies that might contain mercury.