Mercury advisories: Information, education, and fish consumption

Jay P Shimshack, Michael Ward, Timothy K M Beatty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines responses to a US national FDA advisory that urged at-risk individuals to limit store-bought fish consumption due to the dangers of methyl-mercury. We investigate consumer response using both parametric and nonparametric methods. Some targeted consumers significantly reduced canned fish purchases as a result of the advisory, suggesting that information-based policies can achieve the issuing agency s goals. Education and newspaper readership were important determinants of response, suggesting that information acquisition and assimilation are key factors for risk avoidance. While some groups reduced consumption as a result of the advisory, we do not find a response among the relatively large group of at-risk households which met neither the education nor readership criteria. The advisory also had unintended spillover effects; some consumers not considered at-risk reduced consumption in response to the advisory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158 - 179
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

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