Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 13, pp 9595–9602 | Cite as

Fish consumption recommendations to conform to current advice in regard to mercury intake

  • H. C. Vieira
  • F. Morgado
  • A. M. V. M. Soares
  • S. N. Abreu
Review Article


This article reviews fish consumption data, mercury tolerable intake values, and mercury (Hg) content in fish, based on several reports from the Food and Agriculture Organization and European Union. The study assumptions are valid based on the current established USEPA reference dose (RfD). Combining the number of meals (per week), amount of fish ingested (by meal), and levels of MeHg in fish, this study calculates and presents isocurves indicating the maximum number of fishmeal per week without exceeding the USEPA RfD for methylmercury (MeHg). RfD are assumed to be the “exposure dose that is likely to be without deleterious effect even if continued exposure occurs over a lifetime.” The study points out that even considering a single 50-g fish meal per week, the USEPA RfD would be exceeded, triggered by values above 0.84 μg g−1 of MeHg in fish, and this despite being allowed levels up to 1.0 μg g−1 of MeHg in fish consumption!—Have we a health risk? Fish consumption is expected to be relatively stable, while anthropogenic mercury emissions are expected to stabilize or even to increase beyond current values. How many meals of fish per week can we have, combining the number of fish meals per week, amount of fish ingested by meal, and levels of MeHg in fish?


Fish consumption Isocurves fish consumption Methylmercury exposure Mercury tolerable intake Reference dose 



Sizenando Abreu received the individual postdoctoral grant ref.BPD/UI88/2911/2013, within the “Projeto CENTRO- 07/ST24/002033MARES - Sustainable Use of Marine Resources,” cofinanced by QREN, Mais Centro-Programa Operacional Regional do Centro e União Europeia/Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional.

Compliance with ethical standards

The authors did not involve human participants nor other animals; the research reviews published data from literature.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. C. Vieira
    • 1
  • F. Morgado
    • 2
  • A. M. V. M. Soares
    • 2
  • S. N. Abreu
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Biology and CESAMUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal

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