natural news March 03, 2010

In a new study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), every single fish tested from 291 freshwater streams across the United States was found to be contaminated with mercury. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that builds up in the food chain at ever higher concentrations in predators such as large fish and humans. It is especially damaging to the developing nervous systems of fetuses and children, but can have severe effects on adults, as well.

Researchers tested the water, sediment and fish of the 291 streams between 1998 and 2005. Fish tested were mostly larger species near the top of the food chain, such as largemouth bass.

All fish were contaminated with mercury, more than 66 percent of them at levels higher than those set by the Environmental Protection agency as a “level of concern for fish-eating mammals,” according to Reuters. More than 25 percent of the fish were contaminated at levels higher than those set as the threshold for human consumption.

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