How much mercury is in Lake Superior?

How much mercury is in Lake Superior?

In the Lake Superior Basin, the MPCA limit for total mercury is 1.3 ng/L. They have concluded that quantities more than this will result in mercury bioaccumulation in fish tissue, affecting the health of individuals who consume these fish.

Mercury is a metal that can be found in both air and water. It exists in two forms: organic (or elemental) mercury and inorganic (or metallic) mercury. Organic mercury is found in small amounts in some types of soil and certain products derived from trees, including wood pulp and charcoal. Inorganic mercury is found in elemental form or in compounds such as cinnabar (HgS) and quicksilver (HgO). It can also be found in small amounts in some types of rock and coal.

When mercury enters the environment, it can change from one form to another. For example, when liquid mercury comes into contact with oxygen it will usually change into a gaseous state. This gas can then move through materials such as sand or soil and into groundwater or surface waters where it may remain for some time before binding to other substances. If this binding occurs with algae, bacteria, or other organisms they may accumulate high levels of mercury which could be toxic to them. These organisms would then become contaminated with mercury even after the source of the contamination has been removed.

People can be exposed to mercury through different pathways.

How much mercury is in fish in the United States?

The quantity of mercury in fish and other seafood varies according on species and pollution levels in the environment. From 1998 to 2005, one research indicated that 27 percent of fish in 291 streams across the United States possessed higher than the recommended level (2.). Another study reported that up to 40 percent of all fish sampled contained mercury above regulatory limits for consumption (Science Daily). Fish with the highest concentrations of mercury are listed below.

Mercury has been used in industry for many purposes because of its malleable nature and resistance to corrosion. It is also used in dental practices as a filling material because it does not decay like other materials do. However, mercury is very toxic to humans and animals. It can cause developmental problems in children who consume it through fish consumption. In addition, people who work with chemicals containing mercury may be at risk of exposure to this element.

Fish contain varying amounts of mercury depending on their size and where they live. Smaller fish usually have less mercury than larger ones of the same species. The amount of mercury in fish changes over time due to natural processes and contamination from human activities. Mercury stays in the environment long after it's removed from coal-fired power plants or dumped into landfills, for example.

How much mercury is in mahi mahi?

Mercury Concentrations in Commercial Fish and Shellfish (1990-2012)

MAHI MAHI0.1780.45
MACKEREL SPANISH (S. Atlantic)0.1820.73

How much mercury is in Alaskan pollock?

Mercury Concentrations in Commercial Fish and Shellfish (1990-2012)


Which fish species have average mercury concentrations that exceed this limit?

The fish species with average mercury contents that exceed the EPA criteria for human health are largemouth bass and spotted bass, with the EPA criterion for human health being 0.3 ug/g. Other fish species with lower mercury contents include white bass, black bass, bream, freshwater drum, and gar. Fish with higher mercury contents that may be unsafe to eat include salmon, trout, tuna, and swordfish.

The amount of mercury that you can eat in a day is about 12 ounces for an adult male or female who is not pregnant or breastfeeding. The safe upper limit for total daily intake is set by government agencies to be methylmercury. Methylmercury is the most toxic form of mercury and exists only in foods that contain fish. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limits consumers' exposure to methylmercury through their diet to 400 ug per day for women of childbearing age and 600 ug per day for men of childbearing age. Older children and adults should avoid eating any fish containing mercury beyond the recommended 12-ounce monthly limit.

Fish become contaminated with mercury when they swim in rivers polluted by industrial waste or organic matter from decaying plants and animals. Mercury does not go away easily and can remain in the food chain for many years.

About Article Author

Virgil Cathey

Virgil Cathey is a nature lover and an avid outdoorsman. He has a degree in natural resource management with a focus on ecology and environmental science. His love of the outdoors and desire to help people shaped his career choice into what he calls "the perfect job," which is what he does everyday - help people live better lives by living in harmony with nature!

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