Janelle Monáe Mercury Poisoning: Not From Seafood

Janelle Monáe Mercury Poison: Janelle Monáe Joins the Dubious List of Amateur Celebrity Doctors Dispensing Advice That’s Bad for Your Health

Janelle Monáe is a talented actress and musician. But you know what she is not? A doctor. Or a nutritionist. Or a toxicologist. So why are checkout aisle magazines like People taking at face value her recent claim to be recovering from “mercury poisoning” due to her pescatarian diet? We’ve heard this kind of unsupported claim from celebrities and pseudo-lifestyle gurus before. And it’s not just uninformed—it’s dangerous.

Arguably the most important shortcoming in the American diet is a lack of seafood. Low seafood consumption is linked by hundreds of peer-reviewed studies to poor heart health and brain development, and thousands of early deaths each year. 90% of Americans already fall short of government recommended seafood intake, and baseless claims like Monáe’s only perpetuates the kind of fear that keeps fish off their plates.

Janelle Monáe Mercury Poison: Not Seafood Related

There has never—ever—been a case of mercury poisoning from the normal consumption of commercial seafood found in any published, peer-reviewed medical journal. It’s simply not something that happens—amateur self-diagnoses from pop stars aside.

This isn’t a case where you “have to hear both sides” or look at competing evidence—because one side doesn’t have any. Fish is an important source of key nutrients and a widely-recognized building block of a healthy diet. Nobody who is buying farm-raised or wild-caught seafood from reputable supermarkets or restaurants is in danger of “mercury poisoning.” Even if you’re a pescatarian. Even if you’re eating, say, tuna for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Even if you’re Janelle Monáe.