It’s long been known the neurotoxin mercury accumulates in large fish, including tuna, but many scientists believed that levels in ocean fish hadn’t gone up in recent decades. Because the ocean is so big, the thinking was that mercury would not accumulate in dangerous amounts.
University of Michigan research scientist Paul Drevnick tested this idea and concluded it didn’t hold up. Reviewing previous studies, he and his colleagues found mercury levels have risen significantly in the ten-year period ending in 2008. The culprit? Air pollution.
Having the best science on mercury poisoning is particularly important now because levels in ahi tuna are now reaching levels considered unsafe by the EPA. As for his study, it “will either quiet the debate or add more fuel to the fire,” Drevnick says.
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