Potential mothers need to fast from fish for many years to avoid passing on certain harmful chemicals to their offsprings, an alarming study indicates.
Fish and shellfish contain high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids that benefit children's health, but they could also pass on certain harmful chemicals like persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and methylmercury.
After one year of replacing fish with vegetables in her diet, a woman would reduce prenatal exposure of her kid to a POP called polychlorinated biphenyl-153 (PCB-153) by nine%, a team of environmental scientists found.
Five years of substituting vegetables for fish could reduce prenatal POP exposure by 37%, showed the findings.
"If the potential mother replaces fish with vegetables for 30 years prior to childbirth, she could reduce prenatal POP exposure of her kid even by 85%," the researchers said.
In people, POPs have been linked to reproductive, developmental, behavioural, neurologic, endocrine and immunologic adverse health effects, according to the Environmental Protection Agency in the US.
The study appeared in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.