Tag Archive for 'california’s redwood forests'

Coastal California Fog Carries Toxic Mercury, Study Finds

Photo retrieved from: www.nytimes.com

“Yet over time, the researchers’ analysis suggests, significant amounts of methylmercury could be deposited along the coastline, nearly all of it from fog during the rainless summer months. “This toxic form of mercury is basically raining down in a place where redwood forests, for example, are collecting a lot of fog precipitation,” Dr. Weiss-Penzias said in a telephone interview.

Mercury
, a neurotoxin, occurs naturally in air, water and soil, and coal releases it when it is burned. Bacteria in soil and sediments convert mercury to methylmercury, which is both organic and soluble in water — a potent combination, Dr. Weiss-Penzias said. “It can be in water, taken up by organisms, stored in fatty tissues and cross the blood-brain barrier,” which prevents most other toxins from entering the brain, he explained.

When animals higher up in the food chain eat smaller organisms, they take up methylmercury, too. Moving up the food chain, methylmercury concentrations increase, in a process known as bioaccumulation.”

Read more: The New York Times