On Friday, December 12, the Environmental Working Group made public internal government documents disclosing the Food and Drug Administration's secret plans to reverse federal warnings that pregnant women and children limit their fish intake to avoid mercury, a neurotoxin especially dangerous to the fetus and infants. EWG obtained both the FDA plan, stamped "CLOSE HOLD," and memos by senior Environmental Protection Agency scientists attacking FDA's rationale. The Washington Post broke the story, and other national stories followed.
Reaction from Capitol Hill was swift and sharp. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT., denounced the FDA: "Now, in the administration's 11th hour, they are quietly trying to water down advisories for women and children about the dangers of mercury in fish, disregarding sound science on this issue. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin capable of impairing childhood development at very low levels."
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