Mercury in packaged whale meat across Japan may be a major health problem

Dangerous levels of mercury appear to be present in whale, dolphin and porpoise meat sold widely as food in Japan, according to a study by Japanese scientists. One U.S. researcher says the findings point to a “major health problem” in Japan. The Japanese scientists bought samples from across the country, and found that every single slice of toothed whale red meat — Japan’s most popular whale product — exceeded that country’s provisional limit on mercury, with some samples containing almost 200 times the maximum value. The researchers also found that mercury levels were higher in whales caught off the coast of the southern part of the country.

Mucky waters could spell doom for fish populations

A lack of oxygen in waters around the world could be doing more than just suffocating fish: It may be acting as an endocrine disruptor and impeding their ability to reproduce, posing a serious threat to the survival of many populations. A new study of carp suggests that hypoxia, or oxygen deficiency, is an endocrine disruptor. The findings add a surprising member to the growing list of potential hormone-disturbing agents ? a list that includes pesticides such as atrazine and DDT, various types of steroids and metals, and even ultraviolet light. And because it occurs across vast stretches of water around the world, hypoxia could be a greater concern than any of these.

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