Today reading Wall Street Firm Develops New High-Speed Algorithm Capable Of Perfo... in The Onion, and immediately thereafter Field widens for environments, microbes that produce toxic form of ... at Science Daily, kind of made my head explode.
The understated fact-like language detailing catastrophic threat, alongside reassurances of one tiny exception - it was as if reality had become an Onion article. Alarming facts stated very quietly.
With the exception of the mammalian gut, the team found that the mercury methylation genes are abundant in nearly every oxygen-free environment, including rice paddies and marshes, aquatic sediments and certain types of bioreactors. The genes are also abundant in invertebrate digestive tracts and extreme environments.
Most of the harm comes from methylmercury bioaccumulation, which is the buildup of the element in tissue that occurs when moving up the food chain. Ocean fish are the primary source of methylmercury in human diets worldwide.
"We found an abundance of the microbial mercury methylation genes in coastal sediments such as the San Francisco Bay delta and marshes."
Other regions potentially at risk for increased methylmercury production include coastal "dead zones" like the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay and the Mississippi River plume in the Gulf of Mexico.
It is also quite clear that as the permafrost of today becomes the thawed sediment of tomorrow due to climate change, the risk for substantial levels of methylmercury generation is high given the high gene counts and the continued emission and deposition of mercury in the Arctic.
Great, coastal dead zones and thawing permafrost, set to get worse and worse as climate change ramps up, produce methylmercury. But no worries because the human gut isn't a primary source. What a relief!
Food will get increasingly mercury-tainted. There's no way to remove mercury from food.
The toxin, which is the most dangerous form of mercury, damages the brain and immune system and is especially harmful to developing embryos.
"Don't worry! Be Happy!"