The U.S. FDA is urging the government to amend its advisory that women and children should limit how much fish they eat. They argue that the benefits of seafood outweigh the health risks and that most people should eat more fish, even if it contains mercury.
However, the FDA's recommendations have alarmed scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, who in internal memos criticized them as "scientifically flawed and inadequate" and said they fell short of the "scientific rigor routinely demonstrated by the EPA."
The FDA sent its draft report as part of an effort to update the existing health advisory. The report argued that nutrients in fish, including omega-3 fatty acids, selenium and other minerals could boost a child's IQ by three points.
The FDA and the EPA both play a role in protecting the public from mercury contamination. The EPA investigates and regulates mercury and other contaminants in recreationally caught fish, while the FDA regulates mercury in seafood sold in markets and restaurants.