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Study: 84 Percent Of Fish Are Contaminated With Mercury

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File photo of fish swimming. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

File photo of fish swimming. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

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ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – Two new studies have found that mercury emissions are on the rise all over the planet, resulting in contamination for a vast majority of the world’s fish population.

During a joint research effort between Biodiversity Research Institute and the International POPs Elimination Network, it was discovered that a whopping 84 percent of all fish on Earth are said to be contaminated with unsafe amounts of mercury, Mother Nature Network is reporting.

The levels of mercury present in fish are such that dining on them more than once a month could reportedly result in the consumption of unsafe levels of mercury for humans.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the negative effects of mercury poisoning include permanent kidney and brain damage, in addition to harming developing fetuses.

The CDC website adds, “Effects on brain functioning may result in irritability, shyness, tremors, changes in vision or hearing, and memory problems.”

A second study, produced by the United National Environment Program, offered potential insight as to the source of the contamination problem – gold mining,  and the steady rise in gold prices that is allegedly causing a spike in small-scale mining ventures.

The burning of coal and production of plastic are also said to contribute to the problem

A solution may be on the horizon, however – according to Mother Nature Network, a treaty is being negotiated between 130 nations throughout the world that would address the issue of mercury emissions.

“Mercury, which exists in various forms, remains a major global, regional and national challenge in terms of threats to human health and the environment,” United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner was quoted as saying in a news release obtained by the website.

He added, “Mercury has been known as a toxin and a hazard for centuries — but today we have many of the alternative technologies and processes needed to reduce the risks for tens of millions of people, including pregnant mothers and their babies.”

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