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The first lead measurements from the Amundsen Sea

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Efforts to reduce industrial emissions of lead have been ongoing for several decades. The near-global phase-out of leaded automobile gasoline has showed decreases in environmental lead contamination. A reasonable expectation is that industrial lead concentrations have also measurably decreased in the Southern Ocean. Since lead also has natural sources, a group of scientists decided to examine the relative importance of anthropogenic lead in the Amundsen Sea, a shelf region of West Antarctica, in the first measurements of this sort.

The Dynamics of Mercury Toxins in the Oceans’ Food Web

Methylmercury, a toxic form of mercury that is readily absorbed from the gastro-intestinal tract and can cause in a variety of health issues, poses a significant threat to marine animals at the top of the food web. A new study confirms that Artic species of these animals have higher concentrations of methylmercury in their tissues compared with animals lower in the food web; however, it also shows similar trends in selenium, which could help play a protective role against the toxic effects of mercury.