Letter: Ocean mercury another fossil-fuel threat

Published August 14, 2014 5:12 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Unless you have been hiding in a cave in Afghanistan or alternatively denying the reality of anthropogenic global warming, scientists have provided us with yet another reason to strictly regulate the burning of fossil fuels worldwide: humans have tripled the mercury levels in upper ocean.

For those of us who stalk trout in Utah and Colorado, we have been long been aware of the fish advisories with regards to the consumption of fish due to toxic mercury, primarily due to the fallout from coal fired power plants and the metal extraction industries in our Intermountain West.

Now, our saltwater fisheries are threatened due to the same toxin, which consumers of sushi have come to realize. Everyone's favorite, yellowfin and bluefin tuna, being on top of the ocean food chain, concentrate the compound within their bodies.

Millions of women of childbearing age throughout the United States and Europe have blood mercury levels that would result in neuro-developmental problems, including IQ defects, in their unborn children. More regulation of the burning of fossil fuels and mining is needed to avert and possibly mitigate this global health threat.

William White

Salt Lake City

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