We tried to distill all the science on the mercury, lead, DDEs, bacteria, etc., in fish, for this feature.
For people who don't care about the suffering of fish, I suspect this will terrify them into not eating them.
Fish live in water that is so polluted, you would never dream of drinking it. But you’re ingesting this toxic brew—bacteria, contaminants, heavy metals and all—every time you eat fish.
Fish’s bodies absorb toxic chemicals in the water around them, and the chemicals become more concentrated as they move up the food chain. Big fish eat little fish, with the bigger fish (such as tuna and salmon) absorbing chemicals from all the other fish they eat. Fish flesh stores contaminants, such as PCBs, which cause liver damage, nervous system disorders, and fetal damage; dioxins, also linked to cancer; radioactive substances like strontium 90; and other dangerous contaminants like cadmium, mercury, lead, chromium, and arsenic, which can cause health problems ranging from kidney damage and impaired mental development to cancer. These toxins are stored in the body fat of humans who eat fish and remain in their bodies for decades.
Seafood is also the number one cause of food poisoning in the United States. Many of our waterways are polluted with human and animal feces, and this waste carries dangerous bacteria like E. coli. So when we eat fish, we are exposing ourselves to the unnecessary risk of contracting a nasty bacterial illness that can lead to mild to extreme discomfort, nervous system damage, and even death.
According to a report by the General Accounting Office, the seafood industry is dangerously underregulated. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t even bother to test most fish flesh for many well-known chemical and bacterial health hazards.
It's the mercury, stupid:
Toxic for mothers, poisonous for babies:
What the govt. doesn't tell you can hurt you: