health

Spanish women have the highest mercury levels in Europe

Democophes project analyzed presence of chemical in 1,844 pairs of mothers and children

Levels of mercury in Spanish women are over six times greater than the average in 16 other European countries, according to an EU-funded study.

The findings of the Democophes project, which analyzed the presence of mercury and four other contaminants in 1,844 pairs of mothers and children in 17 European countries, confirm what was already suspected about the raised levels of the heavy metal among Spaniards, which have been attributed to high fish consumption.

A 2011 Spanish study revealed that 64 percent of babies born in Spain contain more mercury in their blood than is desirable. In the same year, the government issued an official recommendation that pregnant women and children under three should avoid eating swordfish and Atlantic bluefin tuna because of the high amounts of the neurotoxin they contain.