Mercury poses a hazard to the environment and to human health as well as to loons, and atmospherically distributed mercury has become a regional and national concern. Mercury in New Hampshire’s fish has resulted in fish consumption advisories on lakes throughout the state.
These advisories suggest limiting the consumption of freshwater fish to one meal per month for children and women of childbearing age, and to no more than four meals of fish per month for all others.
Data collected by LPC and the BioDiversity Research Institute on mercury in loon eggs, blood and feathers have revealed “hot spots,” concentrations of mercury that are dangerous for loons and people, downwind of major emission sources like coal-fired power plants and incinerators. LPC’s banding activities and yearly monitoring of the health and reproductive success of banded loons are helping to identify these areas of potentially dangerous concentrations of mercury in New Hampshire.
This work is an important first step in reducing mercury in our environment to benefit loons, other wildlife, and people.