In a new study conducted by the U.S. Geological
Survey (USGS), every single fish tested
from 291 freshwater streams across the United
States was found to be contaminated with
study shows just how widespread mercury
pollution has become in our air, watersheds
and many of our fish in freshwater streams,"
said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
is a potent neurotoxin that builds up in
the food chain at ever higher concentrations
in predators such as large fish and humans.
It is especially damaging to the developing
nervous systems of fetuses and children,
but can have severe effects on adults, as
well. The pollutant enters the environment
almost wholly as atmospheric emissions from
industrial processes, primarily the burning
of coal for electricity. It then spreads
across the plant and settles back to the
surface, eventually concentrating in rivers,
lakes and oceans, where it enters the aquatic