Mercury concentrations in fish from Canadian Great Lakes areas of concern: an analysis of data from the Canadian Department of Environment database.

Abstract

The tissue mercury concentrations in six species of fish collected at the 17 Areas of Concern identified by the International Joint Commission on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes were analyzed using an Environment Canada database. A linear increase in mercury concentration with fish length was found, but slopes differed among locations. The temporal pattern over the period 1971-1997 differed across species in fish collected in Lake St. Clair; in at least two species there was evidence of increased mercury concentration during the 1990s that had been suggested in an earlier analysis. Areas of Concern differed significantly in observed tissue concentrations. Differences observed did not consistently parallel expectations associated with the historical presence of chlor-alkali plants in the vicinities of some locations. An attempt to correlate the fish tissue mercury concentration with the frequency of occurrence of infantile cerebral palsy at Areas of Concern was unsuccessful.

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