Source: Health Day 

A study has found elevated mercury levels in dolphins off the coasts of Georgia and Florida, posing potential risks for human residents. Led by Colleen Bryan, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology analyzed 175 skin samples from bottlenose dolphins collected between 2005 and 2019. Dolphins from St. Joseph Bay, Florida, exhibited the highest mercury levels, averaging 14,193 nanograms per gram (ng/g) of skin.

Mercury, a byproduct of human industry and natural processes, accumulates in large oceanic fish and mammals, leading to reproductive failure, behavioral changes, and death. Dolphins serve as sentinel species, indicating possible human exposure risks. Previous research noted varying mercury levels, with the lowest in Charleston and the highest in the Florida Coastal Everglades. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that fish consumption remains part of a healthy diet, but the study underscores the need for understanding mercury’s impact on oceanic life and human health.

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