How does mercury get into our fish?

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How does mercury get into our fish?

How does mercury get into our fish?

We have all heard about the risks involved with eating fish containing mercury. Like many other consumers, you have probably been wondering how mercury gets into fish. Here is a little background information:

According to the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), the mercury in our fish come from different sources. The biggest offenders are coal-fired power plants, chlorine chemical plants, auto scrap recycling businesses.

Coal-fired power plants emit around 50 tons of mercury pollution annually. This is because coal is naturally contaminated with mercury. So, as it is burned to generate electricity, mercury is released into the air through the smokestacks. In turn, the air particles containing mercury eventually fall into the waters where fish thrive.

Older chlorine chemical plants are another source of mercury contamination. These plants use a large amount of mercury to convert salt to chlorine gas and lye. These ingredients are used in soaps and detergents, plastics, and in the paper-making process. According to various sources, every year these plants lose over 20 tons of mercury in the manufacturing process. Again, the mercury is emitted into the air during the manufacturing process. The same cycle as above occurs.

As far as mercury contamination coming from auto scrap businesses, this is because some auto parts are mercury based (on older cars). As the parts are recycled, the pollutants enter the air and begin the mercury contamination process. As can be seen, mercury fish poisoning begins with our air becoming polluted with mercury. Mercury contamination, overall, is an important issue affecting our entire world. It is not to be treated lightly.



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Patricia Walters-Fischer