University of Granada researchers have found that consumption of certain kinds of fish more than three times a week could worsen cognitive performance in children.
Those with higher levels of exposure to mercury show a generalised delay in cognitive, memory and verbal areas. Mercury is a contaminant found especially in oily fish and canned fish and to a lesser extent in white fish.
For the study, scientists analyzed the exposure to environmental contaminants through water, air and diet, in a sample of 220 children in the geographic health care area of San Cecilio University Hospital in Granada.
This study has described for the first time the extent of childhood exposure to environmental pollutant of special concern - mercury.
The researchers found that total mercury concentrations in the hair of 4 year-old-children from Granada were between 0.04 and 6.67 g / g.
Concentrations were higher than those found in other paediatric populations with a lower consumption of fish, but lower than levels found in high consuming areas.
The results showed that fish consumption is the main source of exposure to mercury in the sample population studied.