ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Health is working with health clinics to reduce the level of mercury in women of child-bearing age without sacrificing the benefits of eating fish.

Minnesota Public Radio ( ) reports the department worked with health clinics in Cook County and on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation to sample blood of nearly 500 women for mercury and healthy fatty acids.

Medical professionals talked to them about what types of fish to eat and how often. Too much mercury can cause lasting learning problems.

Officials say they were encouraged by the results when the women returned six months later after eating healthy amounts of fish.

A 2011 department study showed 10 percent of newborns tested along the North Shore of Lake Superior had concerning mercury levels in their blood.

Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News,