Navigation Links
Hotspots of mercury contamination identified in eastern North America

A US and Canadian research team surveying mercury contamination in fish and birds in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada has identified five "hotspots" where concentrations of the element exceed those established for human or wildlife health. The team focused on levels of the potent neurotoxin in yellow perch and common loons, but it also took into account contamination in other fish, birds, and mammals. In addition to these hotspots in New England, New York, and Nova Scotia, the researchers found nine "areas of concern" in these regions and in Quebec and New Brunswick. Findings from the team's analysis are summarized in the January 2007 issue of BioScience.

The hotspots are believed to result from complex processes that move atmospherically released mercury through the environment, and from site-specific characteristics such as the high sensitivity of wetlands and forested areas to mercury inputs. Local sources of mercury are also significant. Although mercury is not directly harmful at ambient levels, it is concentrated up to a millionfold and chemically modified in aquatic food chains, resulting in dangerous levels of methylmercury in some wildlife species. Fish consumption advisories responding to mercury contamination exist in all the states and provinces included in the study, and loons are adversely affected by mercury levels they experience.

The hotspots have implications for "cap and trade" approaches being implemented for regulation of emissions from coal-fired electric power stations, which, along with municipal waste incinerators, are major sources of mercury pollution. Cap and trade approaches seek to reduce the total release of mercury but could lead to static or increased emissions in some areas. Greater deposition of mercury near areas that are highly sensitive to the element or that are already affected by it could raise the risk to people and wildlife that consume fish. There is reason to believe, however, that lo wering emissions can reduce risk: an analysis of levels of mercury contamination over time in the Merrimack River watershed suggests that lowered emissions reduced mercury levels in biota within a few years.

The 10-member research team was led by David C. Evers of the BioDiversity Research Institute in Gorham, Maine. The study was based on samples collected over four years by the Northeastern Ecosystem Research Cooperative and made use of 7311 observations for seven species. The study report in BioScience is accompanied by an overview article, written by Charles T. Driscoll of Syracuse University and colleagues, that summarizes current knowledge about mercury contamination in the region; the authors conclude that reductions in mercury emissions beyond those currently under way will be needed to eliminate the element as a health risk to humans or to populations of loons.


'"/>

Source:American Institute of Biological Sciences


Related biology news :

1. Study finds mercury prevalent in many western fish
2. Survey finds silver contamination in North Pacific waters
3. Albatross study shows regional differences in ocean contamination
4. Mercury contamination of fish warrants worldwide public warning
5. Asexual worm quickly adapts to soil contamination
6. Source of molecular triggers in cutaneous T cell lymphoma identified
7. Key molecule in plant photo-protection identified
8. Critical role in programmed cell death identified
9. Asthma gene clusters identified
10. Key mechanism in genetic inheritance during cell division identified
11. Two new retroviruses—transmitted from animals—identified
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/9/2016)... , March 9, 2016 ... identified that more than 23,000 public service employees either ... been receiving their salary unlawfully.    --> ... government identified that more than 23,000 public service employees ... had been receiving their salary unlawfully.    --> ...
(Date:3/3/2016)... MONTEREY, Calif. , March 3, 2016  FlexTech, ... in the categories of Innovation, Research & Development, Leadership ... Industry Leadership. This is the 9 th year ... select group of companies and individuals from past ... nominations based on a pre-described set of criteria, by ...
(Date:3/2/2016)... , March 2, 2016 ... the addition of the  "Global Biometrics Market ... offering.  ,     (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130307/600769) , , Global ... grow at a CAGR of around 27% ... ) has announced the addition of the  ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... Italy , April 29, 2016 ... 5.11, the latest update to its industry-leading treatment planning ... shown that Monaco version 5.11 ... can now attain calculation speeds up to four times ... . With the industry,s gold standard ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... ... Connecticut's innovative, growing companies, today announced the launch of VentureClash , a ... companies. , “VentureClash looks to attract the best early-stage companies here ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... Connecticut (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2016 , ... ... Group, Inc., will hold an open house for regional manufacturers at its Maple ... displays from Tsugami, Okuma, Hardinge Group, Chiron and Trumpf. Almost 20 leading ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... ... The Pittcon Organizing Committee is pleased to announce that Charles “Chuck” Gardner was named ... 1987. Since then, he has served in a number of key leadership positions including ... program and exposition committees. In his professional career, Dr. Gardner is the director of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: