In a wide-ranging series more than a year ago, the Tribune warned of dangerous levels of mercury in fish and “tuna roulette” at the grocery store, even calling for Food and Drug Administration-sanctioned warning labels. But now that mercury science has matured, we’re learning that the health benefits of eating fish far outweigh any hypothetical risks — even for those considered the most vulnerable (“Study: Pregnant women need not avoid fish,” Tempo, April 10).

What a difference 16 months can make. Americans are becoming reacquainted with the idea that fish — mercury traces and all — is actually a health food.

Knee-jerk fish fears, especially during pregnancy, can have negative public health consequences far worse than anything our national mercury scare has sought to help us avoid. Environmental groups spinning tales of brain-damaged children and endangered pregnancies should give their mercury campaigns a rest, read the scientific literature and issue us all an apology.