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(Göteborg, Sweden) A new study has found elevated levels of toxic mercury in women of child-bearing age in countries across the Pacific, Caribbean, and Indian Ocean. More than half of all women who were sampled measured above the US EPA level of concern, and three out of four women measured had mercury levels that have been associated with the onset of mercury-related impacts to fetal development. The study establishes that mercury pollution has accumulated across the worlds’ major oceans, contaminating the marine food chain and posing a threat to a sizable portion of the world’s island populations.
Mercury is a potent neurotoxin, especially to the developing brain, and can affect the developing fetus months after the mother’s exposure. The harmful effects that can be passed from the mother to the fetus include neurological impairment, IQ loss, and damage to the kidneys and cardio- vascular system. At high levels of mercury exposure this can lead to brain damage, mental retardation, blindness, seizures and the inability to speak.
A new study has revealed that mercury pollution is more widespread across the world than previously thought, even among high-level ministers and delegates, as a new UN treaty struggles to get to grips with what experts call “an immediate threat to everyone.”