You’ve probably heard a parent or grandparent tell you that eating seafood can give you mercury poisoning. However, is that the case? If you’re a big fan of seafood at Morehead City restaurants like ours, you’re probably feeling a bit apprehensive about your next meal. No worries, we’re here to help clear the air on the mercury myth. From one of the best places to eat in Morehead City, here’s what to know about seafood and mercury poisoning.

What is Mercury?

Mercury is a naturally occurring element that can be found in air, water, and soil. It exists in several forms, the most common being metallic mercury, which is a liquid at room temperature, and methyl mercury, which is an organic compound that can be found in some types of fish.

How Does Mercury Get into Fish?

Now that you know what mercury is, you might be wondering how it gets into fish. Mercury enters the environment when coal and other minerals are mined and burned. It also comes from incinerators and industrial boilers that burn waste. Once in the environment, mercury can eventually end up in oceans and freshwater bodies, where it starts to build up in fish tissue. Larger, older fish tend to have higher levels of mercury because they’ve had more time to accumulate it.

What Types of Fish Are More At Risk For Mercury Poisoning?

The level of mercury in fish varies depending on the type of fish and where it was caught. Generally speaking, larger predatory fish like sharks or swordfish tend to have higher levels of mercury than smaller fish like tilapia or salmon. That’s why health officials typically recommend limiting your consumption of these “high-mercury” fish to no more than once or twice a week. However, there’s no need to avoid all fish altogether. The benefits of eating seafood at Morehead City restaurants far outweigh the risks!

Can You Get Mercury Poisoning From Seafood?

Once mercury enters the atmosphere, it eventually makes its way into rivers and oceans, where it is consumed by sea creatures. Sometimes those sea creatures to wind up on plates in Morehead City restaurants, which means it is possible to consume seafood that contains mercury. However, you would need to consume a large amount of fish-we’re talking every single day for weeks or months for this to happen.

Sugarloaf Deli & Yellowfin Pub | Morehead City Restaurants

While we know we’re one of the best places to eat in Morehead City, as long as you limit your intake of seafood and avoid certain types of fish, you have a very low risk of contracting mercury poisoning. Interested in more seafood facts? Follow our blog! Hungry and looking for Morehead City restaurants? Come see us! We offer everything from flounder to flatbreads, so no matter your taste, you’re shore to find something you’ll love.