During the past decade or so, observations of high mercury concentrations in fish have renewed concerns and mercury, primarily in two groups of fresh waters: low-alkalinity lakes (the topic of this editorial) and newly created impoundments. The recent focus on the chemistry and biota of low-alkalinity (< 50 mu eq/L) waters stemmed largely from concerns about acidic deposition and its effects on sensitive aquatic ecosystems. Such studies have revealed high concentrations of mercury in biota from low-alkalinity waters in some regions--even in seemingly pristine, semi-remote watersheds lacking both identifiable anthropogenic sources of the metal and mercury-enriched ores. Consequently, much of the concern about mercury in aquatic systems has shifted from direct point sources to more diffuse, poorly defined sources, possibly associated with atmospheric transport and deposition.
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Enhanced bioaccumulation of mercury, cadmium and lead in low-alkalinity waters: An emerging regional environmental problem