Green Buckeye RN


NYT: Toxic Mercury Is More At Home in Seawater, Study Finds
June 30, 2010, 9:23 am
Filed under: News, Spotlight on... Mercury

By SINDYA N. BHANOO

It has long been known that mercury levels in seafood can prove poisonous to humans. Methylmercury, an especially toxic form of mercury, can lead to kidney dysfunction and neurological disorders.

Pregnant women in particular are told to be careful because dietary exposure to methylmercury can lead to birth defects in infants.

Now a new study suggests that humans need to be more wary of saltwater fish like tuna, mackerel and sharks than of freshwater fish. Although seawater has lower concentrations of mercury than freshwater, mercury in seawater is more likely to stay in its toxic form, researchers report in a recent issue of Nature Geoscience.

In freshwater, methylmercury tends to latch onto decaying organic matter like dead plants and animals. It then breaks down with the help of sunlight. In saltwater,  methylmercury latches onto chloride, which does not easily break down. The mercury is then likely to be ingested by marine mammals.

 Read further at http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/28/toxic-mercury-delights-more-in-seawater-study-finds/

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