The mercury levels of about 20% of the women who have attained the childbearing age are reported to be unsafe, according to a study conducted across the US involving several thousand women. In the case of Chicago, it was found to be even higher at 25% for women belonging to the 16 years to 49 years age group, at levels which exceeds the federal health limits.
The Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club's Jack Darin has termed this as a serious problem. The mercury tests were conducted by lab a belonging to the University of North Carolina. This state of affairs is largely due to the eating habits of the women concerned, and this is not a malady which cannot be cured. There have been several calls from environmental groups like the Sierra Club to bring down the coal-operated power plants' mercury emissions.
AdvertisementThe mercury which is emitted usually contaminates waterways and fish, and those people who consume them. The health world is also yet to decide upon the acceptable mercury levels in human beings. The unborn babies can be adversely affected by the exposure to it. Womb exposure can result in neurological damage to fetuses also, according to the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration.
High levels of mercury can also be dangerous to children whose organs, including the brain, are in a developmental stage. Where older children are concerned, the federal standards have not been set yet. The mercury levels were found to be particularly high in the case of women who consumed fish twice a week, and it is perceived to be a problem which is fairly widespread in the country. Most toxic material are passed on to human beings through fish. The seafood industry on the other hand contends that the dangers are outweighed by the benefits of eating fish. The mercury levels in human beings are reportedly particularly high in Hawaii.