December 21, 2011--Study links urban areas with mercury in lakes (Pueblo Chieftain)

A new study more closely links industrial areas to deposits of mercury in lakes. The study found atmospheric deposition of mercury is about four times higher in lakes near several major U.S. cities compared to lakes in remote areas, the U.S. Geological Survey announced Tuesday. The study included lakes in the Denver area. Other sites were Boston, Albany, N.Y., Montreal, New Haven, Conn., Tampa and Orlando, Fla., Chicago, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and Portland, Ore. Mercury levels in reservoirs within 30 miles of cities and more than 90 miles remote from cities were studied. Mercury reaches sensitive ecosystems, where it can accumulate in fish and harm wildlife and humans through emissions in the atmosphere. Coal-fired power plants and industries are among the primary sources of mercury emissions. Mercury emissions can travel far in the atmosphere, but local impacts have not previously been measured.

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