Native Village
Youth and Education news
 APRIL 1, 2010 Volume 3

U.S. Streams Fail The Test: All Fish Found Contaminated With Mercury
 by: Beth Buczynski
Condensed by Native Village

The U.S. Geological Survey recently completed a study of 291 freshwater streams across the United States. To their dismay, they found that 100% of all fish tested are contaminated with mercury.

"This study shows just how widespread mercury pollution has become in our air, watersheds and many of our fish in freshwater streams," said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Salazar might have also added the American food supply to that list.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that builds up in the food chain. Predators such as large fish, large mammals, and humans can have the highest amounts.  Mercury causes serious damage to the nervous systems of fetuses and children.

Mercury pollution spreads mostly through agricultural chemicals and the burning of coal and other fossil fuels.

This study is among the first to focus on streams, rather than lakes, reservoirs, wetlands or oceans, where pollution can be more obvious. More than 25% of the fish were contaminated at levels higher than those set for human consumption.

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