28 Mar '12, 4pm

Coastal California Fog Carries Toxic Mercury, Study Finds

National Geographic/Getty Images Fog blankets the coast of central California each summer, hydrating the region’s majestic redwood trees and chilling beachgoers. New research out of the University of California, Santa Cruz shows that the moist air also carries methylmercury , an especially toxic form of the heavy metal mercury. “Is it dangerous to breathe the fog? Of course not — we’re talking very low levels,” said Peter Weiss-Penzias , a chemist and the lead author of the study , published in the latest issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters . Yet over time, the researchers’ analysis suggests, significant amounts of methylmercury could be deposited along the coastline, nearly all of it from fog during the rainless summer months. “This toxic form of mercury is basically raining down in a place where redwood forests, for example, are collecting a lot of fog prec...

Full article: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/28/coastal-califor...

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