Scientists have concluded, based on the recent studies they have made that the Grand Canyon flora, fauna are contaminated with Mercury. The first investigations were made after several species of fish presented large quantities of mercury and selenium.
Researchers at the US Geological Survey wanted to determine the level of pollution within the Grand Canyon region, one of the U.S. trademarks. Various water samples have been withdrawn from the Colorado River for the current research.
Analyses have confirmed what scientists have long suspected, namely, that the water has been severely contaminated with selenium and mercury, two of the most noxious substances when it comes to humans’ health. The fish species in the Colorado River have also been contaminated with mercury, according to scientists.
Restoring Grand Canyon’s environment to its normal state has become scientists’ main focus considering that mercury and selenium are very noxious for humans’ health. The World Health Organization has warned that mercury could permanently affect the nervous system of animals in the region. Consequently, humans could suffer, too particularly if they consume fish from the Colorado River.
Selenium is also one of the strongest neurotoxins on medical experts’ list. Its consumption could cause hair and teeth loss; in addition, many instances of liver tumors in human patients have been linked to selenium contamination.
Researchers are now working to identify the factors that have led to the contamination of the Grand Canyon. Based on the information they have on mercury and selenium pollution, scientists have concluded that activities carried out within electrical power plants and coal burning most likely contributed to these abnormal values.
The only coal-fired plant in the region is the Navajo Generating Station, which has already been put under fire because scientists believe they have polluted the area. 420 pounds of mercury are produced each year by the Navajo Generating Station, scientists have explained.
The activity of other plants in Lake Powell’s proximity will also be evaluated in the following period to determine whether they observe environmental rules or not.
The study will be published in the journal of Environmental Toxicity and Chemistry.
Image source: www.wikimedia.org