Mercury. Oh yes, that's an issue too. Not Freddy Mercury, lead singer for Queens who left a legacy of fat bottom rock and roll. And not the Greek god because he has cool wings on his feet.
Mercury, the heavy metal, is a persistent and serious problem, especially with high concentrations embedded in many large pelagic fish such as tuna and swordfish, which of course are eaten by people. High levels of mercury in people is a health issue. According to the EPA, mercury can cause a variety of problems including impaired neurological development in fetuses and various serious cognitive problems in adults. There is no direct cause and effect with cancer currently but the jury is still out.
The EPA also says that "coal-fired electric power plants are the largest source of human-caused mercury air emissions in the U.S." Another solid motivation for the US to get off the fossil fuel economy and onto the renewable energy economy as soon as possible.
The other big contributor of mercury in the oceans is chlorine manufacturing plants. That's why Oceana has recently asked the Olin Corporation of Ohio to convert its plant to mercury-free technology, according to the Cleveland Daily Banner. It seems they're dragging their heels though. That's irresponsible and unacceptable.
Sometimes with the onslaught of overfishing, climate change, and habitat loss, it feels like there's no more room for another issue but clearly unnatural and toxic levels of mercury in the marine environment cannot be marginalized.
Shout out to Oceana for staying on top of this.
image credit: helpourautisticchildblog.com