Study: mercury passes limits in global ‘hot spots’

The Biodiversity Research Institute has released a new scientific report that indicates mercury contamination in humans and fish “regularly exceed health advisory guidelines.”

The report comes in advance of a meeting of government delegates in Geneva this week to discuss establishing an international mercury treaty.

The report identifies “global biological hotspots” where mercury is higher than in other parts of the world. The institute compiled the report with IPEN, a global network of public interest organizations.

Fish samples taken worldwide showed anywhere from 43 to 100 percent contamination exceeding recommended safe limits from nine countries surveyed, with levels from sites in Japan and Uruguay reported to be so high that “no consumption is recommended.” In addition, human hair samples from eight countries surveyed showed over 82 percent exceeded recommended dose levels of one part per million.

“We found that fish and human hair from around the world regularly exceeded health advisory levels,” said Joe DiGangi, senior science and technical advisor with IPEN. “The results demonstrate the need for a mercury treaty that mandates true reductions of mercury emissions.”

Many people who tested positive for contamination lived near industrial sites or mines, according to the report.


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