Agency seeks monitoring of mercury pollution in Great Lakes

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) – A U.S.-Canadian agency says both federal governments should keep a closer eye on mercury pollution in the Great Lakes, which increasingly comes from as far away as Asia.

Mercury is a toxic metal that rises into the atmosphere from coal-burning power plants. It can be transported long distances before falling back to the ground.

Mercury contamination builds up in fish and is a leading cause of consumption advisories in the Great Lakes region.

In a study released Thursday, the International Joint Commission says mercury emissions from the U.S. and Canada have dropped significantly in recent decades. But because coal burning has risen dramatically in Asia, mercury concentrations in some Great Lakes fish are still rising.

The commission proposes funding 21 mercury monitoring stations in the U.S. and some in Canada.

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