Even though the mercury levels are dropping slightly, the toxic can actually build up in animals over time and have adverse effects on the food chain. A team of scientists has recently announced a breakthrough discovery, i.e. the process involving dispersion of mercury in the sea. Mercury’s movements have been traced for the first time in this process. The metal was traced all the way from shallow waters, to inside fishes and finally at the bottom of vast oceans.
The study’s results show that the mercury traces concentrate in the shallow waters (the upper 100 meters). However, ever since we humans have started to release mercury in the environment, this concentration in shallow waters has risen by 250%. The mercury levels have now risen to less than a molecule in a liter of water. The scientists researching the phenomenon say that surprisingly the situation is quite under control and the mercury levels are still not as high as they had expected.
The only problem that stands with mercury is that even with such small quantity of it, the metal can intoxicate the animals over time. With each step higher in the food chain, we can observe an increase in the mercury levels. The highest levels of mercury are hence, found in tuna, swordfish and mostly other whales. In addition, mercury is an inorganic metal, which can combine with other organic molecules to form methyl mercury, which is even more dangerous to animals.
More research is still required in this field in order to avoid mercury poisoning within animals and eventually humans. Scientists suggest that the information found from this research can be combined with the researches on mercury’s methylation within oceans in order to make future estimates about the increase or decrease in mercury content within animals.