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Report shows elevated mercury levels in some ONP lakes

May 28th, 2014 - 5:23am

(Port Angeles) A newly-released report finds some fish in Olympic National Park are tainted with mercury.

But the concentrations were still below the federal government's standards for mercury.

The U.S Geological Survey's report studied high elevation lakes in the park as well as fish in 20 other national parks between 2008 and 2012.

The report shows overall mercury concentrations in Olympic were slightly higher than most parks in the study.

The Upper Lena, Hoh, Gladys, Sun Up and Hagen lakes were sampled and had a varied distribution of mercury. Concentrations in Hoh Lake fish were nearly four times higher than in Gladys Lake, which showed some of the lowest levels in the park.

But Mount Rainier National Park fared worse than Olympic. The study found about 2 percent of fish sampled in Rainier had mercury levels that exceeded safe levels for human consumption.

Researchers say mercury can show up from natural sources, but also could be a sign of coal plants in China or nearby cargo ships' emissions.

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