Solution to Mercury Problem in San Francisco Bay

The University of San Francisco has discovered a way to limit the amount of mercury in the food chain in San Francisco Bay. Allison Luegen, assistant professor, has been studying the issue for seven years. She explained that her research method had to do with understanding the way in which the chemical is absorbed. Her findings showed that organic matter, such as decomposed leaves, prevents the phytoplankton’s absorption of the most dangerous mercury. The plankton is then consumed by fish, which humans eventually eat. If the lethal mercury is not absorbed in the first place, humans have much less of a risk of being poisoned.

Removing the mercury that has already been consumed is another problem. A leading scientist with the San Francisco Estuary Institute explained that he doesn’t think it’s possible to eliminate it, “given how much is out there in our watershed. Mercury is a challenging pollutant to deal with,” he concluded.

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