(NaturalNews) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has blasted the FDA's analysis of the benefits and risks of fish consumption.
The analysis is "not a product [we] should endorse," the EPA concluded, "as it does not reach the level of scientific rigor."
In the last days of the Bush administration, the FDA drafted a report that sought to set clear guidelines for consumers who were wondering whether the risks of fish consumption -- namely, high levels of mercury and other heavy metals -- outweigh the benefits, such as increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids and improved cognitive function. For its analysis, the FDA compared two recommendations: that people eat more fish of all kinds; and that people limit their fish consumption and eat only low-mercury fish on the rare occasions that they do consume seafood.
The agency did not look at high consumption of only low-mercury fish. With this data set excluded, the FDA concluded that the brain-damaging effects of mercury were offset by the benefits of fish consumption. The agency appeared set to urge people to stop monitoring their fish consumption, and implicitly tell them not to worry about which fish is higher in mercury.
The draft report came under such intense criticism for faulty science that the FDA released a new one. But the EPA concluded that the report was "essentially unchanged, and ... [still] scientifically flawed.
Among the flaws cited by the EPA was the FDA's reliance on a 22-year-old study from Iraq that measured mercury damage based on the age at which children began to speak -- the true ages of many children in the study, however, were unknown. The FDA relied on mercury research that "had been completely abandoned by the scientific community as a basis for risk assessment for more than a decade," the EPA concluded.
"A fish consumption advisory strategy based on the design of the FDA draft analysis would be highly inconsistent with what is generally considered to be proper public health practice," the agency said.