Mercury in the Mediterranean - UNEP Regional Seas Reports and Studies No. 98

United Nations Environment Programme (1988)

Following the tragic events of methyl mercury poisoning through seafoods in Japan (Minamata Bay) and the discovery of high mercury (Hg) levels in Swedish fish also in the Mediterranean area high mercury levels ..ere found in several seafoods, especially in tuna and swordfish. In the following literature survey both data generated in the frame of the ..MED POL programme and data published independently in the scientific literature on the mercury levels in various components of the Mediterranean marine environment will be discussed and where opportune compared with mercury levels from other marine regions. The information available on uptake, release and transformation of different chemical species of mercury by marine biota will be reviewed. Special attention will be given to the question of the biotic and abiotic origin of methyl mercury, since due to its prevalence in seafoods and its elevated toxicity, this mercury species is of special concern.

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