Coal power plants still to blame for emitting most of the toxic mercury pollution
Mercury continues to build up in Arctic ecosystems at levels that threaten the health and well-being of people, wildlife and waterways in the region.
A new study that looks at the sources of the toxic metal shows that airborne mercury is gathering in the Arctic tundra, where it gets deposited in the soil and ultimately runs off into waters. Scientists have long reported high levels of mercury pollution in the Arctic. The new research identifies gaseous mercury as its major source and sheds light on how the element gets there. Continue reading “Mercury pollution worsens in remote Arctic realms”→
Local, regional controls help improve global picture
Global mercury emissions dropped by nearly a third between 1990 and 2010, according to a new study that tried to identify patterns and trends in mercury pollution.
Rapid economic development in Asia means higher mercury emissions, but reductions in North America were enough to offset the increases, according to scientists from China, Germany, Canada and the U.S.
Mercury is a metallic element that poses environmental health risks to both wildlife and humans when converted to methylmercury in ecosystems. It can be converted into gaseous emissions during various industrial activities, as well as natural processes like volcanic eruptions. Continue reading “Study tracks big drop in global mercury emissions”→
Mercury levels in precipitation are increasing in the central U.S. but steadily dropping along the East Coast, scientists reported in a new study.
The findings suggest that mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants in Asia are on the rise, while they are decreasing in North America, according to Peter Weiss-Penzias, an environmental toxicologist at UC Santa Cruz who was the lead author of the study.
Mercury is a toxic element released into the environment through a variety of human activities, including the burning of coal, as well as by natural processes. Rainfall washes mercury out of the atmosphere and into soils and surface waters. Bacteria convert elemental mercury into a more toxic form, methyl mercury, which becomes increasingly concentrated in organisms higher up the food chain. Mercury concentrations in some predatory fish are high enough to raise health concerns. Continue reading “Environment: Mercury deposition increasing in West and Midwest”→
Fish in the Grand Canyon show levels of mercury and selenium that exceed risk thresholds for wildlife
FRISCO — Pollution runs deep in the Colorado River, according to U.S. Geological Survey scientists who recently documented traces of mercury and selenium contamination in fish living in the Grand Canyon.
Fog dripping from coastal plants can deposit significant amounts of mercury in the soil
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Toxic heavy metals are known for their persistence in the ecosphere, with substances like mercury accumulating in to sometimes dangerous levels in parts of the food chain.
In a new study, UC Santa Cruz researchers have tried to determine the source of mercury in California’s coastal fog, and say that it may be coming from the upwelling of deep ocean water along the coast.
Lead researcher Peter Weiss-Penzias, an environmental toxicologist, said the elevated levels of mercury are not a human health concern, but the fog does ultimately deposit significant amounts of mercury on land as it condenses and drips off coastal vegetation.
Results suggest that Florida coastal waters have high levels of the toxic metal
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A new study by researchers from The Johns Hopkins University and The National Aquarium shows that wild dolphins have higher levels of mercury than their captive cousins, suggesting that mercury pollution in the oceans is a continuing problem.
The captive animals were fed a controlled diet, while the wild mammals dined on marine life that may carry more of the toxic metal.
The study found lower levels of mercury in the captive animals, particularly compared to wild dolphins tested off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida, a state that is in the path of mercury-laden fumes from power plants. The aquarium dolphins are fed smaller fish from North Atlantic waters, where mercury pollution is less prevalent. Continue reading “Oceans: Study tests dolphins for mercury exposure”→