Monday, May 4, 2009

Mercury and Seafood

The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new study detailing the process by which mercury gets into seafood.

Read the highlights here.


Kendyll Goeman said...

Sunderland, a USGS scientist, measured mercury levels in the Pacific Ocean using a rosette. Although this specific research study only focuses on atmospheric mercury that is transferred into the Pacific Ocean, the predictions can be used to monitor the release of mercury into the Atlantic Ocean atmosphere as well.

On a local level, the author states that this research can be used by regulators to monitor the amount of mercury released into the atmosphere. This is especially relevant to the proposed Titan Cement Plant. Titan Cement would raise New Hanover County’s mercury emissions to the 3rd largest in North Carolina (Friends). Senator Julia Boseman seeks to delay the construction of the Titan Cement Plant in order to further research the effect that the pollutants may have on the community (Mazzolini).

Sunderland’s model shows that in the past 20 years the mercury total has risen by 30%. The researchers estimate that by 2050- just 41 years from now- the mercury levels will increase by 50%.Sunderland and his colleagues state that Asia is the main contributor to Pacific Ocean atmospheric mercury emissions (Sunderland).

Asia’s emissions make this epidemic a global problem. If the United States alone reduces its mercury emissions, will the 50%mercury increase prediction change? I believe that all nations must develop similar guidelines for allotted emissions.

This research article is especially important because it offers the scientific evidence needed to persuade all nations of mercury's increasing harm. Mercury is associated with water pollution; this article further explains why mercury should be addressed in air pollution summits. I believe that until more quantitative data is acquired, normative analysis is the only way to analyze the costs and benefits of public health decrease and employment increase.

Friends of the Lower Cape Fear. "Health Impacts of Titan's Cement Plant on New Hanover County." January 2009. Stop Titan. 15 May 2009

Mazzolini, Chris. "Senate Committe Approved Bill Delaying Titan Permits." 13 May 2009. Star News. 15 May 2009 1/1177?Title=N-C-Senate-committee-approves-bill-delaying-Titan-permits.

Sunderland, E.M., Krabbenhoft, D.P., Moreau, J.W., Strode, S.A., and Landing, W.M., 2009, Mercury sources, distribution and bioavailability in the North Pacific Ocean--Insights from data and models: Global Biogeochemical Cycles, doi:10.1029/2008GB003425

Dr. Peter Schuhmann said...

OK, great post Kendyll. But based on your last comment, I'm not sure that you understand what normative analysis means. Normative analysis is, by definition, subjective and biased. So if we're searching for "the truth", normative analysis clouds the picture - rather than making it clearer - by introducing personal opinions etc that have little or no basis in facts.

Kendyll Goeman said...

True- after reading lecture 2 and answering the anthropocentric question, I realize that I used improper vocabulary to make my point. I meant to say that it’s currently a battle between two different groups of people that differ in their anthropocentric values. One group values the environment and nonuse of resources while the other group values resource use to ensure a more comfortable life. The final decision will come down to political leaders- as mentioned in your critique of the “why the hell are we in a depression if economists are so smart” post. The economic facts and figures can only be used to sway law makers and politicians.