An alarming amount of toxic mercury can now be found in coastal fog

A new study out of the University of California, Santa Cruz, has detected alarming levels of toxic mercury in California’s coastal fog. The research is just the latest confirmation that this neurotoxin can be carried in fog, deposited on land, and found within the food chain, according to

While this latest study was performed on California’s coastal ecosystems, researchers warn that what they found there can likely be found in coastal fog around the world. That’s because the source of mercury in coastal fog is from the ocean, and the world’s oceans have a fairly even distribution of this toxin across the planet.

The oceans aren’t to blame, though; we are. The increased amount of mercury found in our oceans is directly connected with an increased amount of pollution generated from mining and coal-fired power plants around the world. “Mercury is a global pollutant,” explained Weiss-Penzias. “What’s emitted in China can affect the United States just as much as what’s emitted in the United States.”

Tom: So if you are going into fog, wear a mask.