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High Level of Mercury Found in Pumas Linked to Coastal Fog
High-levels of monomethylmercury (MMHg) has been detected in pumas (Puma concolor) roaming coastal central California, USA. Coastal fog has been implicated as the likely culprit.

Pumas and their associated food web in coastal central California live in a region that is regularly inundated with marine fog. The researchers found that adult puma fur and whisker samples from fog-influenced study region had three times more mean total mercury (THg) levels than that in comparable samples collected from pumas living further inland.

According to researchers, mercury in the sea comes from coal-fired power stations and gold mining activities. Forest fires and volcanic eruptions also contribute but only one in five mercury atoms are from these natural sources. Human pollution is the biggest contributor.

 
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Investigation Underscores Need for Water Quality Funding - Research shows the hazardous impacts of fertilizer runoff are not isolated to the Gulf of Mexico. Over-concentrated nutrients also endanger our recreation areas, as with the 1,400 closures or swim warnings issued this summer at public beaches in the 12 states under review. Most troubling of all, those nutrients end up in our drinking water, potentially threatening our health and driving up municipal governments’ water treatment costs, which are covered by our tax dollars.


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