Model estimates from the report indicate that methylmercury concentrations in marine fish will decline roughly in proportion to decreases in mercury inputs, though the timing of the response will vary.
"Our model estimates show that for the North Atlantic Ocean, a 20% cut in the amount of mercury deposited to the ocean from the atmosphere would lead to about a 16% decline in mercury levels in fish But it is important to realize that achieving a 20% decrease in mercury deposition will require substantial cuts in current anthropogenic emissions, given the already very sizeable build-up of mercury in terrestrial environments and ocean waters," said Robert P. Mason, Ph.D., Professor of Marine Sciences at the University of Connecticut. Mason is a lead author of the Environmental Health Perspectives paper on mercury biogeochemical cycling in the ocean and a lead author of "Sources to Seafood."
The C-MERC team also evaluated the fate of mercury in nearshore coastal waters and found a contrasting pattern to the oceans. "For some nearshore coastal waterbodies, like San Francisco Bay and the Hudson River Estuary, where there are large mercury sources such as historically contaminated sites, ongoing releases from wastewater or industrial waste and atmospheric mercury deposition in the watershed, mercury loading can be dominated by river inputs," said Charles T. Driscoll, Ph.D., University Professor of Environmental Systems Engineering at Syracuse University. He is a lead author on an Environmental Health Perspectives paper on nutrient supply and mercury dynamics, and a lead author of "Sources to Seafood."
The C-MERC team estimates that river inputs can be as much as 80% of the total mercury inputs to some estuaries. "The impact of mercury released to coastal waters
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