Report of the Great Lakes Science Advisory Board
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HEALTH EFFECTS OF MERCURY IN THE GREAT LAKES BASIN:  INTRODUCTION
T
More detailed evaluations of source inputs and mercury
he health effects of mercury have been a continuing
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speciation are needed to better understand mercury
concern of the Great Lakes Science Advisory Board
contributions and more effectively target mercury reduction
(SAB).  Numerous anthropogenic sources of mercury
add to natural levels and can be found at the local, regional
activities, particularly from air sources.   Mercury levels in
fish are still above levels to fully protect human health and
and global levels.   Having entered the environment,
wildlife requiring further efforts to control mercury inputs
mercury cycles repeatedly within the biosphere and, in
and loadings, including those from coal combustion.   The
water, can be converted to methylmercury and biomagnify
over 2,000 fish consumption advisories for mercury
to toxic levels as it moves up the food chain.   Adverse
health effects are documented, among others, via fish
throughout the United States and the province of Ontario,
provide overwhelming evidence regarding the need to
consumption where subtle, adverse neurological health
reduce mercury emissions.  Prospective and retrospective
impacts can be measured at low doses.  Mercury remains a
significant health concern, as evidenced by fish consump-
epidemiological studies should be undertaken of high
tion advisories throughout the Great Lakes states and
intake fish consumers and their infants in Areas of Concern
Ontario.
and other Great Lakes area locations to better understand
potential neurodevelopmental effects associated with
mercury and co-contaminants such as PCBs.
The  over  2,000  fish  consumption  advisories  for
mercury  throughout  the  United  States  and  the
province  of  Ontario,  provide  overwhelming
evidence  regarding  the  need  to  reduce  mercury
emissions.
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