A recent study conducted by scientists show an in-depth look at how mercury is polluting many of the oceans around the world. In this study, scientists discovered there is far more mercury from man-made sources than originally thought.
Scientists take a closer look at ocean pollution
The study also assessed inorganic mercury. This is when the ocean gets converted into toxic methylmercury that is found in seafood. This poses a serious danger to pregnant mothers, nursing mothers, and young children who eat seafood thanks to an increased risk of developing nervous system problems. This is a particular problem for developing children. However, the new results don’t offer any immediate conclusion regarding eat seafood.
Woods Hole Oceanic Graphic Institute in Massachusetts’ Carl Lamborg explained that mercury contaminated with mercury to an extent. He also mentioned the study showed mercury concentration was highest at the surface and mid-levels of the ocean. However, high concentrations of mercury were found deeper than 3,300 feet in the North Atlantic.
Study shoes levels of mercury higher than it was in the past
Generally speaking, mercury levels between the surface and 330 feet deep are actually over triple the amount from pre-industrial times. From between 330 to 3,300 feet deep, it was about 150 percent times great than the levels over a century ago. The levels were only 10% higher beyond 3,300 feet minus the North Atlantic.
What’s more is that two-thirds of the ocean’s mercury comes from man-made sources in water that is shallower than 3,300 feet. Interestingly enough, the worldwide study suggested the reason concentration levels of mercury vary as it sinks further into the ocean is because the metal mimics carbon. The ocean takes about 25% carbon dioxide that’s pumped into the air. When carbon goes into the ocean, it transports on phytoplankton, an oceanic life form that lives on the surface of the ocean. When plankton excrete wastes or dies, it traps the carbon sinking it to the ocean floor.
This study has some key findings and should help scientists figure out how mercury gets into the food chain and in humans.