ARL News

Mercury in the Gulf


November 21, 2003

The accumulation of mercury in fish in the Gulf of Mexico is becoming a severe worry. It is known that much of the mercury arrives via the Mississippi, but there is also a substantial contribution due to atmospheric deposition. Over the past several years, ARL scientists from three Divisions (Oak Ridge, Research Triangle Park, and Silver Spring) have been studying the transport and deposition of mercury compounds in the atmosphere. Other groups in NOAA have been studying other aspects of the overall mercury problem. In early December, ARL and Sea Grant are joining forces to host a meeting of the NOAA scientists actively engaged in related studies, with the intent of constructing a “life cycle of mercury” program, following the pollutant from sources (both local and distant) to its eventual bioaccumulation in living tissue. Understanding is presently quite limited, and constrains the development of cost- effective measures to regulate or control mercury emissions.

Contact information: Bruce B. Hicks
Phone: (301) 713-0684