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Identifying factors that influence mercury levels in tuna

Most consumers' exposure to toxic methylmercury occurs when they eat fish. But research just published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology could help clarify why methylmercury concentrations in tuna vary geographically.  Inorganic mercury compounds are released into the atmosphere from natural sources, such as volcanoes, and human-based sources, such as fossil fuel combustion and gold mining. Some of these compounds settle onto oceans, where natural processes convert them into methylmercury. This substance is then naturally transferred to sea creatures, including tuna, which sometimes contain amounts exceeding food safety guidelines. David Point, Anne Lorrain, Valérie Allain and colleagues wanted to map regional variations in methylmercury levels in tuna and to investigate the biological, environmental and ecological factors that drive these variations.  Read more...

 

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