Tuna mercury levels exceed federal guidelines in some Houston restaurants

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Houston sushi fans may be interested in this news from the Chronicle‘s David Ellison:

Samples of bluefin tuna purchased recently from six Houston-area restaurants had mercury levels above federal guidelines, according to laboratory tests performed for the Houston Chronicle. An additional five showed mercury levels just below the federal standard.

What does that mean to sushi lovers in Houston? That depends on whom you talk to and how much you eat.

Experts and doctors are divided on the health effects of eating fish with high levels of mercury, or even what constitutes a dangerous level of contamination.

“I’m a toxicologist,” said Ernest D. Lykissa, co-owner of ExperTox, the laboratory that performed the tests for the Chronicle last month. “I was a connoisseur of sushi. I don’t eat tuna anymore after this study.”

Others, including the seafood industry, argue that exceeding the Food and Drug Administration’s 1 part per million guideline for methyl mercury in seafood does not put a person in danger of toxicity.

So, bluefin tuna sushi fans, what say you? Does this news change your dining plans at all, or do you find the risks overblown? Leave us a comment.

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Kevin Whited
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