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CCU professor talks about serious rise in mercury

October 20, 2004

Mercury: Is It on Our Dinner Plates? is the subject of two upcoming talks that Coastal Carolina University marine science professor Jane Guentzel will give in Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach. The first talk is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Collins Law Enforcement Center in Myrtle Beach. The second event is set for Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. at the North Myrtle Beach Recreation Center. Both talks are free and open to the public.

Guentzel, who has conducted mercury research in South Carolina, Florida and Mexico, will explain the reasons for the rising mercury levels in fish and the consequences for consumers. She will talk about the sources and varieties of mercury, how it moves in the environment, and how it gets into fish, with particular emphasis on Horry and Georgetown counties.

Since 2002, according to Guentzel, the number of lake acres under mercury advisories nationally has increased by 2 percent, river miles under advisories have increased by 9 percent, and advisories along the coastline have increased by 4 percent. In 2003 a total of 2,362 fish consumption advisories for mercury were issued throughout the United States. This represents an increase of 163 percent since 1993, when 899 mercury advisories were issued.

Guentzel earned a Ph.D. in chemical oceanography from Florida State University. She joined the Coastal faculty in 1998.

This public discussion is one of a series of 50 such events planned during 2004-2005 by Coastals College of Natural and Applied Sciences to commemorate Coastals 50th anniversary. For more information, call 349-2202.