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Asia is Causing High Mercury Levels in Pacific Ocean Fish

Updated on August 29, 2013

China and Japan are no doubt Asia's largest users of coal burning facilities. Of the two, China spews out horrid amounts of black sooty smoke from coal burning factories. The pollution enters the air currents and travel across other countries and across the vast Pacific Ocean. The pollution does not always remain aloft, but returns to the surface in various forms and ends up in various foods from the ocean.

Four years ago, researchers found high levels of mercury in deep water fish of the Pacific Ocean, for example, sword fish and some tuna, shark, mackerel, crab and other bottom feeders. The goal was to find why and what. It seems sunlight breaks down the kind of mercury dangerous on your typical sushi plate, called, monomethylmercury. The source of this was traced to coal burned in Asia because wind currents go from west to east.

Fish caught from the deep parts of ocean contained high levels of mercury, while those who live in shallower regions, such as mahi and yellowfin tuna, have much less mercury. Eating whale and dolphin meat should be avoided at all costs.

The USDA advises that you should not eat fish more than twice a week.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 4 years ago

      I would think it would safe since it is more of shallow fish.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 4 years ago from Auburn, WA

      Hi Perry, do you think Pacific salmon are affected? Particularly the Columbia River? You made me think of that because here in the NW we live on salmon, trout, etc. Something to think about.