Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mercury Tarnishes Louisiana Fish

Date:
December 1, 2008
Source:
Tulane University
Summary:
Researchers are fighting to remove mercury from the environment. Mercury-containing pressure gauges in the natural gas fields, coal-fired power plants and chlorine plants are among the sources of mercury that concern scientists.

By day a mild-mannered micropaleontologist with an interest in sea levels and ancient sediment, in his free time Barry Kohl acts as a “catalyst” to bring nongovernmental organizations, industry and state agencies together in the fight to remove mercury from the environment.

Mercury-containing pressure gauges in the natural gas fields, coal-fired power plants and chlorine plants are among the sources of mercury that concern Kohl, an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the Tulane School of Science and Engineering.

In 1994, Kohl became concerned about high levels of mercury in the sediment and fish of the Pearl River, a popular fishing spot in Louisiana where people had little knowledge of mercury contamination. He took his concerns to the legislature.

“We are supposed to be the ‘Sportsman’s Paradise.’ With 43 fish advisories and with signs posted all over the state warning about the fish, it’s not something that we can boast about,” says Kohl, acknowledging the bittersweet success of his advocacy.

“Mercury is a significant health issue. The only way to control it is to stop it being discharged into the soil and the air and to clean up existing sources,” he says.

Methyl mercury affects brain and nervous system development in unborn babies and young children, which is why advisories warn that pregnant women, breastfeeding women and young children should not eat locally caught fish.

Kohl played a role in securing ongoing funding of $200,000 a year for the Louisiana Mercury in Fish Project, the passage of the 2006 Mercury Reduction Act and the publication of the “Mercury Risk Reduction Plan,” parts of which Kohl edited.

“It’s the outside participation through professors and nongovernmental organizations that is getting the state agencies to address the issues,” explains Kohl, who defines his role as a catalyst. “With any good government you have to have the public involved. I have the science background, and I can offer ideas about procedures to clean up contaminated sites in the state.”

One of Kohl’s priorities is developing a timely procedure for industry to use in cleaning up the estimated 20,000 mercury-containing pressure gauges throughout the state’s natural gas fields. Kohl calculates that there are nearly 200,000 pounds of mercury in those gauges, many of which are abandoned and leak mercury into the state’s wetlands.

People who are interested in helping to reduce mercury and mercury exposure can get involved by joining advocacy groups, says Kohl, who points out that mercury is not only a Louisiana issue but a national and global concern.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Tulane University. "Mercury Tarnishes Louisiana Fish." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081122090900.htm>.
Tulane University. (2008, December 1). Mercury Tarnishes Louisiana Fish. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081122090900.htm
Tulane University. "Mercury Tarnishes Louisiana Fish." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081122090900.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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