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Thermal power stations in China, India blamed for mercury in fish

30 Aug 2013

US researchers say they've solved the mystery of how mercury gets into fish, prompting a warning for people to limit their consumption.

The researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Hawaii say emissions from coal fired power stations in China and India are the most likely source of mercury found in certain types of Pacific Ocean fish.

Mercury can affect humans' central nervous system, the heart and the immune system.

The discovery has prompted University of Michigan Professor Joel Blum to urge people to limit their consumption of certain types of fish to no more than two servings per week.

"People can limit their exposure to mercury by limiting their consumption of certain number of types of fish such as swordfish, tuna, shark and tilefish which have the highest levels of mercury," he said.

"The message should not be that people should stop eating fish."

"Fish is very, very healthy, it provides a lot of very essential nutrients."

Professor Blum predicts levels of the toxin in Pacific fish will rise in the coming decades unless global mercury emissions are reduced.

He says while emissions from some countries have reduced, others have increased.

"It just so happens that China and India have rapidly increased their use of coal and their share of the global mercury emissions has gone up relative to other countries or other continents that used to be the most important sources such as North America and Europe which have actually reduced mercury emissions," he said.

Source: Australia Network News