A study carried out in the United States by researchers from the universities of Michigan and Hawaii, has revealed how the mercury fish that inhabit the high seas, and foresees that the levels of this toxin, harmful to the human organism, continue to increase in the coming decades in the fish of the Pacific Ocean, if effective measures are not taken to avoid it.

The authors of the study used isotope measurement techniques developed at the University of Michigan (UM), which allowed them to determine that fish found in the high seas in the North Pacific have accumulated 80% of the methylmercury -The toxic form of mercury- that its tissues contain in deep areas of the ocean, possibly due to a bacterium which adheres to pieces of sunken organic matter.

The researchers also confirmed that the mercury reached the fish of the Pacific, near Hawaii, after traveling thousands of kilometers through the air coming from the emissions of this pollutant into the atmosphere of countries like China and India, and deposited with the rains. on the surface of the ocean.

To avoid high concentrations of methylmercury in fish it is necessary to reduce global mercury emissions

Therefore, Joel Blum, environmental scientist of the UM and main author of an article that has published 'Nature Geoscience', has declared that it is a global problem of the atmosphere and that to avoid high concentrations of mercury in the fish destined to the human consumption, it is necessary to reduce global mercury emissions.

Human exposure to methylmercury occurs mainly through the consumption of large marine predators such as swordfish or the tuna, that feed on other species of smaller fish that contain mercury, and the toxin accumulates in their tissues through a process called bioaccumulation.

Among the main detrimental effects of methylmercury on humans are damage to the nervous system, the immune system and the heart. In addition, in the case of fetuses and young children, the most vulnerable, this toxin could affect the development of their brain.

Safety Alert: Mercury In Fish (November 2019).