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B. Data about Mercury Exposure in Women and Children

Narrator: This is Science Today. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has recently released a report on childhood exposure to environmental contaminants, which for the first time included data about mercury exposure in women of childbearing age. Environmental health researcher Amy Kyle of the University of California, Berkeley, was one of the report's five authors.

Kyle: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did a bio-monitoring study, where they looked at concentrations of chemicals in people's bodies and they looked at mercury for the first time. And they found numbers that I think surprised everyone.

Narrator: The report found that eight percent of U.S. women of childbearing age have blood mercury levels that are higher than recommended by the EPA.

Kyle: And that's a potential risk for women because children who were exposed while they're still in the womb are at risk for effects that affect the way their brain develops.

Narrator: Women of childbearing age or those who are pregnant should limit their intake of fish that is high in mercury, including shark, swordfish, mackerel and tuna. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.