Mercury Levels in Sea Birds Rising at Alarming Rate
Research done on bird feathers has shown just how quickly levels of poisonous mercury are growing in the world’s oceans and seas, proving a dangerous threat to sea birds. Scientists studied the amount of mercury in 120-year old albatross feathers and claimed that results show the amount of mercury affecting seabirds has risen at an alarming rate since the beginning of man-made mercury emissions. The findings, published today by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that mercury levels are having an effect on the decline of animal and bird populations. Mercury pollution is chiefly caused by coal-fired power stations and incinerating waste material. The metal drops out of the air into the sea, where it works its way up the food chain. At each step as larger species feed on smaller ones levels of mercury in the body increase. Therefore, mercury poisoning finds its way back to fish-eating humans.