Grand Canyon Fishes Contaminated By Mercury

Posted: Aug 26 2015, 8:35am CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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Grand Canyon Fishes Contaminated by Mercury
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Mercury pollution has been occurring in the Grand Canyon. And it is contaminating the Colorado River food web as mercury found in Grand Canyon fishes.

Even such pristine places as the Grand Canyon are not safe. That is from the treacherous tentacles of pollution. Pollution is a many-headed hydra that cannot be eliminated at the swish of a magic wand. It requires real action and lots of sacrifices on the part of man.

The Grand Canyon has always been an iconic landmark that has shown the mirror to Nature in the raw. However, all that seems to have changed. Recent reports show that mercury and selenium levels were found. They were in great concentration in the environment of the Grand Canyon.

The ecology of the area is saturated with the two chemicals. The food webs contain these elements in excess. That is the fish and the wildlife. The study was published in a journal. And the management of this toxic environment will be a conundrum that is insoluble.

That is because the pollution has spread far and wide by now. It has passed the limits of the Grand Canyon and penetrated the surrounding areas. Over half a dozen sites across the Colorado River have the problem. It is rooted in their very contextual matrix.

Minnows, invertebrates as well as piscean creatures are at risk. They show concentrations of mercury and selenium in scads. These creatures are unfit for consumption. They are literally poison that could run through your veins once you take a bite from them in the cooked state.

Especially, mercury is a fatal neurotoxin. It could adversely effect overall health to the extent that death takes place. Even selenium causes various ailments. These include hair loss and tooth dislocations.

Also issues with mental sharpness and alacrity are at stake. Selenium has even been linked to liver cancer. So care is better than cure. The only species that managed to survive the environmental onslaught was the rainbow trout population. They were free from the polluting effects of mercury.

Yet the consumption of many of the creatures living in the Grand Canyon would still be a health hazard. Selenium pollution often occurs due to agricultural activities and mining. However, the levels found in the soil are naturally high to begin with.

The mercury though comes from coal factories. Other human activities also cause mercury to leech out into the bones and sinews of the canyon. Even algae have been held responsible for mercury poisoning. All ecosystems are vulnerable to the ravaging effects of pollution. But some are more at risk than others.

These findings by the U.S. Geological Survey scientists published in the journal Environmental Toxicity and Chemistry.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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