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Study- Mercury Found in California Fish

Laura Hosford-Yunker4 years ago

A recent study, conducted by the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program of the State Water Resources Control Board in California, found methylmercury, a toxin that damages the nervous system of humans, present in high concentrations in a number of California sport fish.

“It suggests there's enough mercury coming into these aquatic ecosystems from global sources in the atmosphere to drive significant accumulations in the species that are prone to high accumulations,” senior scientist with the San Francisco Estuary Institute.

Information about the Study

  • The study was conducted by the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program of the State Water Resources Control Board in California and published in the Miami Herald on May 24, 2012.
  • Researchers reportedly found high concentrations of mercury in more than a third of the locations sampled in the San Diego and San Francisco Bay area.
  • 37% of the 68 locations where fish were sampled along the coast produced at least one species with high concentrations of methylmercury.
  • Methylmercury was found in seven species of fish in the area:

    • leopard sharks
    • brown smooth hound sharks
    • spiny dogfish
    • copper rockfish
    • rosy rockfish
    • china rockfish
    • striped bass

About the Mercury Contamination

  • Methylmercury comes from gold mines and coal-burning power plants among other souces and is converted by bacteria from mercury pollution.
  • Methylmercury is a toxin found in many fish in California and can damage the nervous system of humans.
  • The contamination is particularly dangerous to children and pregnant women. 
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