Los Angeles Times
February 14, 2005
Later this month, Europe and other industrialized regions will grapple with the problem of mercury pollution. The United States, apparently, will continue to pretend it doesn't exist.
Like greenhouse gases, mercury is a global rather than local problem. The metal, a liquid at room temperature, vaporizes easily, traveling the world's air currents and settling into waterways, where it has become so common in ocean fish that pregnant women and young children, the most vulnerable, are warned to severely limit their consumption of seafood, and everyone is told not to eat too much swordfish and other predator fish. In humans, it turns into highly toxic methyl mercury, which can cause memory lapses and increase the risk of heart attacks.