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California Among States With Elevated Mercury Levels In Fish

Washington, DC — Store-bought swordfish and tuna in California and 21 other states contained mercury and some had levels above the legal limit in a study released by environmental groups today.

A University of North Carolina Lab found elevated mercury concentrations in 24 swordfish samples from supermarket chains including Safeway, Shaws, Albertsons and Whole Foods.

The advocacy group Oceana reports a swordfish sample from a Safeway in the San Francisco Bay area had a mercury level of .781 parts per million and tuna from the same store registered at .232 parts per million.

Groups that paid for the analysis want supermarkets to post signs warning shoppers of health risks from mercury.

In California, uniquely among states, most stores are posting warning signs about mercury content in their swordfish and tuna because of a 1986 law requiring business firms to provide “clear and reasonable” warnings when they expose consumers to known reproductive toxins.

The state also has sued three major canned tuna producers to require they place mercury warning notices on their products.