It’s important not to overreact to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s pronouncement about New Yorkers’ mercury levels [“Sushi, Diet Soda Latest Health Targets,” July 24, 2007].

The average mercury level in Japan is far higher than the average in Manhattan. Yet the Japanese — and their children — are generally much healthier than we are. These mercury levels don’t indicate that anyone’s health is actually in danger.

If anything, they prove that New Yorkers are eating more fish than, say, Clevelanders or Washingtonians. And if you live in New York, that’s a decidedly good thing.

Study after study show that the proven health benefits of eating fish far outweigh the hypothetical health risks. It is “brain food,” after all.