A recent study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts has revealed the level of man made mercury present in the oceans of the World has reached even greater levels than had previously been estimated. Comparing current mercury levels with those taken prior to the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century has revealed the level of methyl mercury found in the ocean waters is double or triple the level they were prior to the industrialization of Europe and North America.
“This information may aid our understanding of the processes and the depths at which inorganic mercury species are converted into toxic methyl mercury and subsequently bioaccumulated in marine food webs,” the academics the prestigious Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) said in a statement.
The need to study the level of mercury found in the waters of the World is important as the level of methyl mercury found in seafood can have an immediate effect on the level of nervous system problems found in children, expectant mothers and nursing mothers who are exposed to high levels of methyl mercury. What the authors of the study are hoping to discover over the course of their research is how the high levels of methyl mercury make their way into the food chain and seem to be higher in seafood than any other form of food.
During the course of the study the level of man made mercury in the waters was recorded at various depths. Mercury can enter the waters of the world as runoff during the burning of fossil fuels for power and is a common problem in areas where gold mining is commonly completed. Overall, the waters of the World saw a high level of mercury found in the top layer of the oceans, which was recorded for the study as being the surface layer to around 330 feet below the surface, saw an increase of triple the level of mercury when compared to periods before the Industrial Revolution. In most ocean waters these high mercury levels were limited to levels above 3,300 feet, but in the North Atlantic high mercury levels were found in even deeper waters.