Mercury Policy Project

Promoting policies to eliminate mercury use and reduce mercury exposure

New Studies Show Mercury in All Fish, Levels Rising in U.S. Women

September 1st, 2009

Multiple studies released in August 2009 provide evidence of rising mercury contamination of the environment, fish and people.  The evidence that mercury levels have risen in people in the past several years is presented in a report released by UCLA, Assessment of chronic mercury exposure within the U.S. population, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2006.  While inorganic mercury was found in the blood of 2% of women in 1999, it was found in 30% of the women by 2006.  Another U.S. study, Mercury in Fish, Bed Sediment, and Water from Streams Across the United States, 1998–2005, found mercury in all the sampled fish, with 27% exceeding levels safe for human consumption.  A third study indicates that mercury levels in fish were elevated in pristine forested or woody-wetlands in the eastern and southeastern U.S.  Duke University environmental engineers explain this phenomenon in a study of their own: How Mercury Becomes Toxic in the Environment.

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