It's sad but true that most seafood today is highly contaminated with toxic metals, industrial compounds, pesticides and herbicides.

Heavy metals like mercury, lead, copper, cadmium and arsenic naturally occur in our environment, but they significantly increase via industrial processes and agricultural chemicals. These, along with pesticides and other harmful contaminants leech into water sources.

Fish and marine life, in general, are exposed to concentrated levels, which accumulate in their organs and tissues, raising their risk of toxicity, particularly larger fish.

By now, many of us are aware of the health benefits associated with consuming oily fish at least twice a week. More of us are also becoming more informed about the potentially harmful contaminants in fish which is concerning – especially if you're pregnant or have young children.

A way to minimise your exposure to heavy metals such as mercury, for example, is to eat fish with lower levels such as anchovies, Atlantic mackerel and wild Alaskan salmon. Fish to avoid – those with higher levels – include tuna, sea bass, monkfish, halibut and swordfish. Greenpeace has a full list here

To limit your exposure to PCBs, avoid fish like farmed salmon which have higher levels. Fish from contaminated areas with the highest levels tend to be bottom-feeding fish and larger predator fish. PCBs deposit in the fatty tissues and fatty fish are most at risk, so it's recommended to remove the skin and fatty areas and grill or bake fish to allow the fat to drain off

Some people prefer to take fish oils as an alternative to regularly eating oily fish as it can provide some of the health benefits without the toxins. But not all fish oils are created equal. Toxic levels vary and according to researchers, 11%–62% of products are oxidised, risking exposure to unacceptable levels of oxidation which is potentially harmful to health. 

This demonstrates how crucial it is to find a reputable fish oil brand which performs rigorous testing to ensure outstanding quality and safety.