Mercury ‘bull’s-eye’ in Alberta oilsands

Canadian tar-sands operation has emitted mercury into large section of surrounding area

A “bull’s-eye” of mercury from tar-sands operations in Alberta, Canada, extends over an area of approximately 7,300 square miles.

Levels of methyl mercury—a neurotoxin—found in the vicinity of the huge production area have registered as being as much as 16 times higher than background levels for the area, according to the Vancouver Sun. Environment Canada researcher Jane Kirk reported the findings at a recent international toxicology conference.

“Here we have a direct source of methyl mercury being emitted in this region and deposited to the landscapes and water bodies. So come snowmelt, that methyl mercury is … going to enter lakes and rivers,” Kirk said.