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Your Environment. Your Health.

University of Rochester

Factors Modifying the Toxicity of Methylmercury in a Fish-eating Population

Philip Davidson, Ph.D.

NIEHS Grant: R01ES010219 

Fish is a major protein source and a primary source of nutrients that are essential for maternal and fetal health. Fish also contain methylmercury (MeHg), a known neurotoxicant at high levels of exposure. However, despite many years of research, there is still uncertainty about the safety of eating fish that contain natural background levels of MeHg during pregnancy. Researchers at the University of Rochester are working to better understand the complex associations between prenatal MeHg exposure from maternal fish consumption and child developmental outcomes. They are evaluating how prenatal nutritional factors affecting inflammation, and genetic factors affecting certain biological pathways, influence associations between prenatal MeHg exposure and developmental outcomes in a cohort of 1,536 mother-child pairs. This will provide more information about the safety of consuming fish during pregnancy with varying levels of MeHg.

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