NEARLY A year ago, I interviewed David Evers, the executive director of Maine’s Biodiversity Research Institute, on the revelation that insect-eating inland songbirds can accumulate mercury at dangerous levels every bit as much as fish-eating river and coastal birds. He called the findings a “game-changing paradigm shift” for understanding mercury’s pernicious presence.
The paradigm has shifted anew in a far more dramatic way. The institute and IPEN, the global anti-toxics network, released a first-of-its-kind report Wednesday that found mercury levels in fish and human hair samples from around the world exceed guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The report is titled “Global Mercury Hotspots.” In reality, the whole world is a hotspot.