Scientists have warned that the levels of toxic mercury in seafood, like cod and tuna, could increase due to climate change. Around 80% or four-fifths of the mercury put into the atmosphere from natural or artificial causes, ends up in the ocean. It is then converted by tiny organisms into methylmercury, a very poisonous form of mercury.
As small creatures are eaten by larger ones, mercury becomes more concentrated up the food chain.
As the seas warm, fish like cod are using more energy to swim which requires more calories – so they are eating more and storing up more of the toxin.
Methylmercury can affect brain functions in humans. Children may be especially at risk from exposure to fish-derived mercury while their brains and nervous systems are developing in the womb.
While regulation to curb emissions of mercury are leading to decreases in the concentrations of the toxin in fish, rising ocean temperatures due to climate change are predicted to push it up again.
More details of this study over at Independent.
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