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Friday, June 19, 2009

Mercury levels raise concerns


"A University of Alberta study shows the amount of mercury flowing into the Arctic Ocean from the Mackenzie River estuary may be more than originally thought."

"Mercury is important, especially in Canada's Arctic, because it's a neurotoxin in foods,"said Jennifer Graydon,who published her findings in the journal of /Science of the Total Environment/ earlier this year.

"Large amounts of mercury in the body can damage the nervous system." "Previous published studies have shown Western Arctic belugas (whales), have higher concentrations of methyl mercury than those found in the Eastern Artic, "Graydon said. "So we thought let's look at the river,not as a direct source to the whales, but as least as a source of mercury to that region."

"Graydon and three colleagues tested mercury concentrations in samples taken in 2004 from the Mackenzie River upstream from the Mackenzie River Delta, and in six floodplain lakes."

"They discovered the total amount of mercury from the river during that three-month period was EQUAL TO TO AN ENTIRE YEAR'S WORTH OF MERCURY CALCULATED IN PREVIOUS STUDIES."!!!!

"Since then, samples taken over another three years have contained mostly the same concentrations."

"A University of Manitoba researcher and colleague discovered that most of the mercury flowing into the Mackenzie River Basin is picked up by water as it flows down from the Mackenzie Mountains."

"The mineral soils of the mountains contain naturally high levels of mercury,said Jesse Carrie, a graduate student."The other major mercury contributor was a coal bed, he added.

"Carrie suspects the mountains have been adding mercury to the system since the last Ice Age.
But he notes that levels of mercury in animals in the area have increased "Dramatically" since the 1980's. For example mercury concentrations between 1986 and 2008 have doubled in a fish species called burbot near Fort Good Hope. Carrie and his colleagues are now trying to figure out why."

"It is possible climate change has lengthened the growing season for bacteria and plankton which create the form of mercury that is accumulated by animals," he said.

Source:The Edmonton Journal, Wednesday, June 17,2009 Writer:Hanneke Brooymans :Journal Environmental Writer


Let us hope these researchers can determine why the mercury levels have increased so that whatever steps are possible can be taken to reduce these levels if at all possible. Of course if these levels are rising due to natural processes, it is going to make it difficult for scientists to come up with a plan to reduce levels of mercury in the Mackenzie River and the Mackenzie Delta

Source of map of Mackenzie Delta (click on it to enlarge it):http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/magazine/so07/indepth/images/map2.jpg
If you so desire you can click on the map provided above to enlarge it.

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.