Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mercury Contamination Of Fish Warrants Worldwide Public Warning

Date:
March 12, 2007
Source:
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary:
The health risks posed by mercury contaminated fish is sufficient to warrant issuing a worldwide general warning to the public, especially children and women of childbearing age, to be careful about how much and which fish they eat.

The health risks posed by mercury contaminated fish is sufficient to warrant issuing a worldwide general warning to the public, especially children and women of childbearing age, to be careful about how much and which fish they eat.

That is one of the key findings comprising "The Madison Declaration on Mercury Pollution" published today in a special issue of the international science journal Ambio.

Developed at the Eighth International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant last August in Madison, Wis., the declaration is a synopsis of the latest scientific knowledge about the danger posed by mercury pollution. It presents 33 principal findings from five synthesis papers prepared by the world's leading mercury scientists and published in the same issue of Ambio. The declaration and supporting papers summarize what is currently known about the sources and movement of mercury in the atmosphere, the socioeconomic and health effects of mercury pollution on human populations, and its effects on the world's fisheries and wildlife.

Five other major findings in the declaration were:

  • On average, three times more mercury is falling from the sky today than before the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago as a result of the increasing use of mercury and industrial emissions.
  • The uncontrolled use of mercury in small-scale gold mining is contaminating thousands of sites around the world, posing long-term health risks to an estimated 50 million inhabitants of mining regions. These activities alone contribute more than 10 percent of the mercury in Earth's atmosphere attributable to human activities today.
  • Little is known about the behavior of mercury in marine ecosystems and methylmercury in marine fish, the ingestion of which is the primary way most people at all levels of society worldwide are exposed to this highly toxic form of mercury.
  • Methylmercury exposure now constitutes a public health problem in most regions of the world.
  • Methylmercury levels in fish-eating birds and mammals in some parts of the world are reaching toxic levels, which may lead to population declines in these species and possibly in fish populations as well.

"The policy implications of these findings are clear," said James Wiener, a Wisconsin Distinguished Professor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse who served as technical chair for last summer's conference. "The declaration and detailed analyses presented in the five supporting papers clearly show that effective national and international policies are needed to combat this global problem." Published by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Ambio (http://www.ambio.kva.se) is widely recognized as an important international forum for debate on scientific, social, economic and cultural issues affecting the human environment.

Wiener said the Madison Declaration summarizes a year-long effort by many of the world's leading mercury scientists, assembled into four expert panels, to review and synthesize the major mercury science findings. Every member of all four scientific panels endorsed the declaration, he said. Wiener added that all 1,150 participants at the conference were invited to express their confidence in the experts' findings, and the vast majority of those who did so agreed with the experts' conclusions.

Other major findings in the declaration include:

  • Increased mercury emissions from developing countries over the last 30 years have offset decreased emissions from developed nations.
  • There is now solid scientific evidence of methylmercury's toxic health effects, particularly to the human fetus.
  • New evidence indicates that methylmercury exposure may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly in adult men.
  • Increasing mercury concentrations are now being found in a number of fish-eating wildlife species in remote areas of the planet.
  • The actual socioeconomic costs of mercury pollution are probably much greater than estimated because existing economic analyses don't consider mercury's impacts on ecosystems and wildlife.
  • The concentration of methylmercury in fish in freshwater and coastal ecosystems can be expected to decline with reduced mercury inputs; however, the rate of decline is expected to vary among water bodies, depending on the characteristics of a particular ecosystem.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Wisconsin-Madison. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Mercury Contamination Of Fish Warrants Worldwide Public Warning." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070308084514.htm>.
University of Wisconsin-Madison. (2007, March 12). Mercury Contamination Of Fish Warrants Worldwide Public Warning. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070308084514.htm
University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Mercury Contamination Of Fish Warrants Worldwide Public Warning." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070308084514.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins