Study points to mercury danger in Madre de Dios


Common fish species in Peru’s Madre de Dios region contain dangerous amounts of mercury, and the toxic metal—which is used in the region’s unregulated gold mining—is accumulating in the bodies of the people who eat them, a new study shows. Indigenous people—especially children—are at particular risk because fish is their main source of protein, says tropical ecologist Luis Fernández of the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University, who led the study. Three-quarters of the 1,029 people studied had levels of mercury in their hair that exceeded the maximum limit or “reference value” of one part per million (1 ppm) used by the World Health Organization, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other bodies. The overall average was 3 ppm for... [Log in to read more]

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